Entreneuer and “Spice Girl” Angel Gregario is showing us why it is so important to lift up your community while you build it.
Gregario is the owner of The Spice Suite, a gourmet seasoning and cookware company founded seven years ago in Washington, D.C. The Spice Suite was opened as a small pop-up spice shop, but the location quickly outgrew its Takoma park location hosting over 2,500 pop-ups led by 450 Black-business owners.
In December 2021, Gregario purchased a 7,500-square-foot lot for $1 million with assistance from D.C.’s Commercial Property Acquisition Fund.
Now, Gregario plans to use her new space to expand her business venture, Black and Forth. Black and Forth is a block of commercial space that will house five Black, female-owned small businesses.
“My goal is to show business owners what it looks like to lift as you climb,” said Gregario. “I want someone to say like, you know what, there’s this property I’ve been looking at in Southwest of another part of town, I think I want to do it so that us helping each other in this way and supporting each other as relentlessly as I do, becomes the way that we all show up for the community.”
Mayor Bowser said in a statement, “Black and Forth is a fantastic example of why we have programs like the Commercial Property Acquisition Fund. Because when we invest in our community, we create new opportunities for entrepreneurs like Angel to invest in and empower the community. We know we have the talent, creativity, and passion in DC; what people haven’t always had access to is the funding. We are changing that – with this fund, with the Black Homeownership Fund, with the Food Access Fund. With all of these funds, we’re investing in longtime Washingtonians and building opportunity-rich neighborhoods in all eight wards.”
“Mayor Bowser created the Commercial Property Acquisition Fund to empower small business owners just like Angel,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in a statement. “We are proud that Washington, DC has the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses in the nation. Now, we are using tools like the Commercial Property Acquisition Fund to keep businesses in DC and ensure even more businesses and employers in DC are Black-owned.”
We’re excited to watch this vision come to life.