Newark’s Black-owned businesses awarded $2.3M in funding

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka

The City of Newark and Invest Newark, on Thursday evening, celebrated reactivating downtown Newark’s commercial corridors and supporting small businesses in Newark’s Arts and Education District. A total of $2.3 million in funding was announced to eight retail entrepreneurs as part of Baraka’s goal of filling vacant retail spaces, beautifying the Arts and Education District and increasing amenities for Newark residents, visitors and workers.

The news was announced under the new festival lights on Halsey Street, where several grantees are based. This placemaking endeavor was led between Newark Alliance and Newark Downtown District to boost foot traffic to local businesses, enhance Newark’s commercial corridors and increase public safety.

“Our new initiative reflects a commitment to bring new life into vacant retail spaces and enhance Newark’s physical appearance to enrich the lives of residents, visitors and workers,” Baraka said. “The entrepreneurs opening businesses in the heart of our Arts and Education District embody the resilience and spirit of our city. Their businesses — which range from new restaurants to spaces for artists and comedians — add even more energy to a district that has become a commercial and cultural hub.”

Supported by Urban Enterprise Zone funds made available thanks to the reform law spearheaded by the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, the Newark Retail Reactivation Initiative offers financial support for fit-out and furniture, fixtures and equipment to Newark-based businesses.

The eight businesses range from dining experiences to beauty services and vibrant community hubs. The inaugural group of awardees consists of local favorites and new Black-owned ventures, with over half owned by Newark residents:

  • Equal Space: Grant Amount: $625,000; 550 Broad St., Floor 1st, 2nd and 4th; owned by Newark resident Citi Medina, Equal Space is a coworking space catering to entrepreneurs, founders and small businesses led by people of color, women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Delta’s: Grant Amount: $600,000; 810 Broad St.; owned by successful restaurateur Joshua K. Suggs, Delta’s is a full-service restaurant and bar serving Southern Cuisine with live entertainment.
  • Katherine’s Restaurant: Grant Amount: $550,000; 110 Edison Place, Suite 204; owned by Newark resident Jason Wallace, Katherine’s Restaurant & Brewery will offer American cuisine and onsite brewed signature lagers, ales and stouts.
  • Uncle Willie’s Wings: Grant Amount: $229,495; 113 Halsey St.; owned by Newark resident Walter Green, Uncle Willie’s Bar and Grill will provide venue space for events highlighting local painters, poets and sculptors, fostering a platform for Newark’s vibrant artistic community.
  • Newark Culture Club: Grant Amount: $120,540; 12 Halsey St.; owned by Newark resident Justin Williams, the Newark Culture Club is set to become a vibrant performance space and craft cocktail bar, hosting stand-up comedy, local artist groups, DJ sets, trivia nights and film screenings. Williams is the host of Newark’s longest-running comedy show, Brick City Comedy Revue.
  • Casa De Flora: Grant Amount: $101,185; 540 Broad St.; owned by Maritza Walton, Casa De Flora is a retail flower boutique and coffee café, providing a welcoming space for brunch, work and events.
  • Consigliere: Grant Amount: $87,500; 155 Washington St., Retail B; Co-owned and co-founded by Newark resident Karl Fowlkes and Jarel Rosser, and operated by Terrance Wesley Campbell, Consigliere is an upscale wine and tapas bar. It will feature an extensive wine list focusing on the African diaspora and New Jersey-based wineries.
  • Lashed Queens: Grant Amount: $38,500; 12 Linden St.; owned by Brittany Payton, Lashed Queens offers an upscale Beauty Bar experience, specializing in skin care and aesthetic services like eyelash extensions, waxing and nail care.