Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) and The Village Market (TVM) recently chose six local, minority-owned businesses in Atlanta to participate in the inaugural BeltLine MarketPlace pilot program. The program was first unveiled in April and intends to increase visibility to minority-owned businesses while spurring the creation of fresh, reasonably priced commercial goods and services along the Beltline route. Two commercial nodes on the Eastside and Westside trails will house the enterprises in specially designed containers.
Mayor Andre Dickens showed his enthusiasm by proudly stating, “One of the many reasons why Atlanta rises above the rest is that this is a city of possibilities—and the BeltLine MarketPlace pilot program encapsulates that reputation. Building a small business is hard work, and I am pleased the city and our partners can provide this kind of support for the entrepreneurs who are truly the heart of Atlanta’s economy.”
The program received over 217 applicants in a two-week period, and ultimately, six enterprises were selected for the first cohort running from July through November 2022. Of the 217 applicants, 64%, or 138, stated that obtaining small business loans or investment capital is a barrier to finding brick-and-mortar locations. 55% claimed that the monthly rent was too high given their current level of income and cash flow. They also mentioned the shortage of commercial space in the areas where they wanted to rent.
BeltLine Marketplace Eastside
Under the Freedom Parkway Bridge at 830 Willoughby Way NE, Atlanta, GA 30312, you can find four of the six unique businesses selected for the BeltLine MarketPlace program.
Operated by Nicole McDonald and her husband Corey, Cococakes by Coco is a custom cake and confections company that has been in business for over seven years. They plan to use the space to capitalize on BeltLine foot traffic and test out new concepts and experiences that put a unique spin on desserts.
Follow on social: @cococakesbycoco
Good As Burgers founder Cornoy Watkins spent much time in the kitchen during the pandemic, experimenting with vegan-friendly sandwiches and sauces. According to Watkins’ fiance and fellow Good As Burgers partner Talia Jones, Watkins was motivated to pursue a plant-based diet after residing in Los Angeles, California.
In addition to vegan burgers, Good As Burgers also sells vegan Chick’n tenders, sloppy Joes, and a variety of desserts for delivery or pickup out of a ghost kitchen in West Midtown. The pair also own a food truck and have plans to open a business space in Summerhill.
Follow on social: @goodasburgers
Grady Baby Company & Apparel is a clothing company that offers customers Atlanta-themed and historically black-inspired apparel. Much of the clothing designed by the company’s founder, Alexander Albritton, pays homage to the rich history of Atlanta and influential figures like Maynard Jackson, the city’s first black mayor. In fact, “Grady baby” is a direct reference to people born at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital.
Follow on social: @gradybabyco
Michael Loyd Jr. is the co-founder of Dope Coffee which offers Atlanta residents and visitors delicious coffee roasts from Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Tanzania. But Dope Coffee is a hip-hop brand as much as a coffee brand.
“We are on a mission to bridge the worlds of coffee, hip-hop, and culture,” its website reads. “We are here to elevate and uplift Black culture while serving great coffee to great people.”
In addition to stocking up on quality coffee beans at this company, customers can also shop for local gift sets, body care, and skincare products.
Follow on social: @realdopecoffee
BeltLine Marketplace Westside
At 1089 Allene Avenue SW, Atlanta, GA. 30310, you can find the remaining two unique businesses selected for the BeltLine MarketPlace program.
Ashley Carlton founded Not As Famous Cookie Company in 2015, offering different gourmet, fresh baked goods, including cookies, cookie skillets, ice cream sandwiches, and cookie shakes.
Only the best ingredients are used at Not As Famous Cookie Company, including real butter, premium chocolates, and carefully chosen nuts. With two food trucks and a physical location in Smyrna, Carlton says he’s eager to reach out to Atlanta’s southside.
Follow on social: @notasfamous
Lakeisha Jones owns and runs PinkPothos, an online Atlanta-based plant company that offers plant lovers beautiful houseplants and accessories like ceramic pots and covers to bring a pop of color into your home. Jones is passionate about plants and provides tips for plant care on her website.
Follow on social: @pinkpothosatl
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