As part of Black history month, we wanted to highlight Black-owned businesses in North and West Denver. Here are a few businesses to support during this month and beyond.
Wanda James became the first Black woman to own a cannabis dispensary when she opened Simply Pure in 2014. Visitors are served by the Budoligist, a trademarked name James gave her staff. “Our employees’ training is much larger than what is taught in the industry,” James explains.
Simply Pure is more than a dispensary, it is also a vehicle for social change. These past eight years, Simply Pure has been a vessel shining a light on the mass incarceration and police brutality of Black and Brown people. The desire to create Simply Pure ignited when James’ brother was sentenced to ten years for possession of marijuana. “I wanted to have a Black face on cannabis,” says James. Through Simply Pure she is breaking the glass ceiling for African American men and women to get into the cannabis business, while also creating representation in the industry. “I have a diverse group of people on my staff. We pride ourselves in representation and want the people working here to represent our mission.”
Stop by Simply Pure at 2000 W 32nd Ave or online at simplypure.com.
Beast Fingers is the only Black-owned climbing gym in Colorado and the second Black-owned climbing gym in the nation. Beast Fingers is more than a climbing gym, it is a space that helps youth with mental health and stress relief.
In 2015, owner Aman Anderson moved to Colorado for work and used his creativity and design skills to create a rock climbing module for climbers called Beast Fingers. This device grows with the climber and helps them improve their climbing ability.
“My job wasn’t so thrilled I was creating a product on the side so I quit”. Anderson later got certified as a rocking climbing coach through the USA Climbing Association. He opened the Beast Finger gym in 2019 and has served many kids in the community. “We have a diverse group of kids from kids who are experiencing homelessness, anxiety, and behavioral issues to kids who are not familiar with sport to kids who are big climbing fans. It is also nice to see Black and Brown kids taking up the sport,” Anderson expresses.
Beast Fingers gym serves kids from three years old to 18 years of age.
For more information on Beast Fingers, check out our writeup in the December 2021 edition of our sister publication The G.E.S. Gazette, still available online.
Visit Beast Fingers at 5280 Broadway, online at beastfingersclimbing.com, or on Instagram at Beastfingers.team.
Fritay Haitian Cuisine
Fritay Haitian Cuisine is the only Haitan food truck in Denver. Fritay is owned and operated by Farah-Jane Jean Pierce, a Denver transplant who decided to bring her Haitain heritage, love for cooking, and the desire to own a food truck to the Mile High City.
Born and raised in Haiti, Jean Pierce moved to Denver from New York three years ago. “I realized there was a lack of Caribbean food, especially Haitian Food,” Jean-Pierce says. “I always loved to cook, therefore I would make delicious Haitian meals and invite friends over before the pandemic. With the support of my family and friends, I decided to bring this unique cuisine to Denver and I started doing my research about opening my food truck. I can proudly say that today I operate the first Haitian food truck bringing bold and unique flavors to this city.”
Her favorite part of her job is seeing customers taste her delicious authentic Haitian meals. “I love seeing my customers enjoying my food. The smile it brings to their face always makes my day and pushes me to keep moving forward.”
If you are in the mood of some authentic Haitian flavors, you can catch Fritay Haitain Cuisine at its permanent location at 998 Sheridan Blvd. You can also find them on Facebook or Instagram at fritayhaitianfood or visit their website fritayfood.com
Northside Hoops is a 501(c)(3) youth basketball program serving the Northside and greater Denver Area. Since 2015, Northside Hoops has worked with many student athletes in the area and has raised money to help facilitate their educational and academic growth through mentorship, athletic training, and academic programs. Brianna Hypolite, North High School basketball coach and former all-pro basketball player, runs Northside Hoops.
“The idea of providing the opportunity for upcoming players to have similar experiences motivates me to continue to program youth basketball.”
Northside Hoops is a safe place where student athletes can make their goals and dreams reality. “Our focus with our participants is not only invested in their athletic development but also their academic and social maturation. In addition, we never turn away participants for lack of funds,” Hypolite says.
Hypolite also credits the community’s support for the organization’s success. “The community has stepped up to support our mission and the LoHI/Northside area’s financial and social contributions have truly had an impact on the success of our participants.”
For more information on Hypolite, check out the story on her role at North High School in the January issue of The Denver North Star, still available online.
Find Northside Hoops on Instagram: NorthsidehoopsDEN
The Urban Group
Power couple Jeffery McMillian and Terry Carrigan have five businesses under the Urban Group: Urban Protection and Security, Urban Survival Fitness, Urban Wellness, Urban Wine and Chocolate Run, and Urban Conscious Living.
The two met in 2010 when Carrigan started working out with McMillan. They teamed up and created the Urban Group which has served as a resource for wellness and security for the community. “We help each other a lot,” Carrigan says about the dynamic between her and McMillan. Jeffrey McMillan oversees Urban Security and Protection, which has done security for Juneteenth, Black Arts Festival, the New Hope Baptist Church, and a few clubs.
Urban Survival Fitness is a small group workout program specifically designed to integrate various forms of fitness, including sports-specific, martial arts, and dance techniques, as well as body weight, cardio, and flexibility training. The couple serve as trainers and wellness coaches at the gym and even offer self-defense classes. Inside the Urban Survival Fitness building is Urban Wellness Living, a homeopathic treatment center for those who want a more natural approach at healing. Terry Carrigan got the idea for the wellness center after being diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2016. Urban Wellness offers ionic detox foot baths and near infrared (NIR) light therapy.
Urban Wine and Chocolate Run benefits Urban Conscious Living, a local nonprofit organization that helps kids in the community afford after-school programs and provide resources that will better their future.
The Urban Group is located at 4025 Steele St, or check them out online at urbangroupdenver.com.
Did we miss your business? Email us at News@DenverNorthStar.com to be included in a future edition of the paper!