National Black Business Month is celebrated in August, and provides a special occasion to honor and acknowledge the dedication and achievements of Black entrepreneurs. However, the importance of Black entrepreneurship resonates year-round as it continues to drive innovation, economic growth, and social empowerment within communities across the nation. From historic trailblazers who defied the odds to contemporary visionaries who are shaping industries, Black entrepreneurs have enriched the business landscape with resilience, unwavering determination, and unique perspectives.
Six visionary entrepreneurs within the franchising industry have played a role in redefining the landscape of business ownership. These individuals have not only triumphed over barriers and adversity but have also made significant contributions to their respective communities, serving as a source of inspiration for budding entrepreneurs worldwide.
Community Catalysts: Nurturing Beyond Business
Marlos Chenault, owner of Grease Monkey in Griffin, GA: I have been providing automotive services to my community since 2019. In this industry, I quickly developed a commitment to quality and reliability so that my Grease Monkey location would become more than just a service center. I aim to continue being a trusted partner by ensuring that the wheels of my community keep turning smoothly. I recognize that these seemingly routine services play an essential role in fostering local growth and prosperity, and that’s what fuels my dedication.
Ame and April Kennedy, owners of Pet Supplies Plus in LaGrange, IL (pictured): We recently opened our Pet Supplies Plus location in March and have already created more than just a store, which is exactly what we wanted. We were intentional in wanting to build a diverse community within our store – and we’re proud of the personal connections and relationships we’ve made with our neighbors and their pets. This effort has transformed our store into a haven and a community center for pet enthusiasts. We have a shared vision that encompasses accessibility, inclusivity, and compassion, and our commitment to removing barriers, both financial and logistical, ensures that every neighbor can provide the best for their furry family members.
Stephanie Moseley, multi-unit owner of Marco’s Pizza in Virginia: As a former Air Force Captain, my military background has instilled in me the resilience and focus necessary for pursuing growth and seizing opportunities, even amidst uncertainty. Through this experience, I honed my skills in employing critical and analytical thinking for effective decision-making. This resilience and focus played a key role in my decision to join Marco’s Pizza as a franchisee and become more involved with the company. My goal is to always move forward, and I was recently named President of the Marco’s Pizza Foundation, which is on a mission to nurture and nourish local communities through four key pillars: School & Education, Hunger Prevention & Nutrition, Workforce Development, and Entrepreneurship. Currently the Foundation is partnered with No Kid Hungry.
Empowering Health and Wellness Champions
Barry Cofield, owner of D1 Training in Orlando: My current journey began when I retired from the NFL in 2015, after playing for the New York Giants for XX years. The transition led me to Florida and I opened my D1 Training in Orlando within the same year. This venture allowed me to channel my passion for sports into a vehicle for community betterment. As the owner of D1 Training, I provide a space where individuals not only train their bodies but also cultivate life skills. My involvement with local youth and aspiring athletes epitomizes my love for sports combined with a deep-seated desire to uplift and inspire the next generation. My journey from the field to the entrepreneurial realm showcases how a heartfelt commitment to community can seamlessly intersect with personal passions.
Shannon Sevor, owner of GYMGUYZ in Silicon Valley: I am committed to educating members of my community on ways to prevent harmful, and sometimes deadly, health conditions. With a particular focus on addressing health disparities, myself along with my team of certified personal trainers are dedicated to empowering individuals, especially African Americans, with the knowledge and tools to prevent heart disease, cancer, stroke, and obesity. In order to best serve my community, it’s essential that I remain motivated and aware and collaborate with other organizations that have similar goals. Together, we’ll eliminate obstacles to becoming the healthiest version of yourself.
The endeavors of these individuals go beyond business transactions; they represent a dynamic force of Black entrepreneurs for positive change. By focusing on community engagement, empowerment, and social responsibility, these entrepreneurs are not just nurturing economic growth, but holistic well-being. Their initiatives bridge gaps, provide opportunities, and create spaces that foster inclusivity and unity. As we celebrate National Black Business Month, let us honor and amplify the voices of these community catalysts, reminding us all that entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool for driving meaningful and lasting transformation.