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D.C. Entrepreneur Buys Strip Mall for Black-Owned Businesses

Angel Gregorio’s specialty seasoning business, The Spice Suite, has always been about helping other Black-owned businesses. She’s hosted over 450 pop-ups for Black businesses in her Washington D.C. store.

Gregorio knows first-hand how expensive it is to own commercial property in the Chocolate City. Now she’s doing her part to provide other local Black-owned businesses with an opportunity to have a brick-and-mortar space of their own

With a $1 million investment, Gregorio turned a 7,500 square foot lot in the Langdon section of Washington D.C. into a strip mall for local Black-owned businesses. And she’s calling the space Black And Forth.

“It was just this catchy, cool name that I created for how I describe my process of going back-and-forth with Black business owners,And now it is the name of a shopping center — a strip mall — that I own in D.C. So I feel good about that, and I’m grateful to be in the space.”

The Spice Suite’s AngelGregorio said

Gregorio accessed the  she used to buy the space through D.C.’s Property Acquisition Fund, which offers grants to eligible businesses to help them acquire commercial property.

The fund is part of D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser’s goal of increasing the city’s share of minority-owned businesses to 33 percent by 2028.

Along with relocating The Spice Suite, Black and Forth will host four other hair and nail salons, who will lease space inside renovated shipping containers.

Gregorio also hopes to add a Black farmers market in the spring.

In a December Instagram post, Gregorio was optimistic about what Black and Forth will mean to Black businesses and the community.

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Written by Aliyah Collins