Black-owned businesses form strong community in Dubuque area

Black-owned businesses

Other Black-owned businesses in the Dubuque area include:

  • Asylum Recording Studios, owned by Matt Gregory; 563-663-3442.
  • Dusty Rogers Baseball and Softball Academy, owned by Dusty Rogers; 563-239-1851.
  • Belle Allure Minkz and Boutique, owned by Erica Brewer; 563-235-9115.
  • Boaz BBQ, owned by Francen and Antywone Sanders; 563-500-6378

  • Mr. Cadillac Cutz Barbershop, owned by Makiah Cooper; 563-590-5685.
  • Elevated Images Dubuque, owned by Michael Williams; 563-564-1553.
  • Ernest Jackson Painting, owned by Ernest Jackson; 563-599-0342.
  • Hot Diggity Dogz, owned by Wes Rainer; 563-258-2425.
  • Jared Levy, real estate agent with Exit Realty; 954-604-7116.
  • Just Like Home Catering, owned by Ty Beard, 563-239-4070.
  • Legacy Made XPerience, owned by Trijuana Robinson; 708-365-8269.
  • Luxurious Hair Spa, owned by Shamika Rainer; 563-542-8102.
  • KMaree Consulting, owned by Klanea Evans; 913-636-1169.

  • Nick Anderson, licensed agent with New York Life Insurance; 630-697-1275.
  • Platinum Voice PR and Consulting, owned by Carmen Pearson; 312-870-0122.
  • Positive Productions Plus, owned by Dale Campbell Jr.; 563-581-7360.
  • ProlifiC Creations, owned by Caitlin Daniels;
  • Rite Way Decor, owned by Linda Broxton; 563-447-0509.
  • Shugga’s Soul Cafe, owned by Snoflake Naylor; 563-845-0018.
  • Styld to Perfection, owned by Tanisha Frazier; 563-239-1078.
  • The Touch Salon and Spa, owned by LaTosha Calhoun; 563-258-0275.
  • Tri-Phoenix Group, owned by A. Alanda Gregory; 815-277-1048.
  • Turnt Kidz Dance Organization, owned by Renee Dunn; 708-262-0202.
  • Unfiltered Brown Girl, owned by Lindsey Lucille; 563-564-1644.

Just two years ago, Tanisha Frazier was an aspiring hairstylist in search of a salon.

The Dubuque resident had traveled a long road to that moment, attending cosmetology school in Illinois and Iowa, often while working as a certified nursing assistant to pay the bills.

As a Black woman, she felt strongly that she wanted to work in a predominantly Black salon, ideally as an independent contractor.

“I’m looking and looking and not finding anything that would be a good fit for me, and I’m thinking, ‘What if I just open my own salon?’” she recalled.

The idea was overwhelming for Frazier, who says she knew nothing about credit, loans or financial requirements to launch a business. But she took a leap of faith and opened her Dubuque salon, Styld to Perfection, on Jan. 1, 2020.

She has continued to face obstacles since then, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of resources for ethnic hair care in the Dubuque area. But Frazier takes pride in her growing business and the services she provides.

“Representation is extremely important,” she said. “If we go to a salon and we ask for a certain type of service and we see no one that looks like us or has the texture of hair we have, we automatically get discouraged.”

Frazier’s salon is among a growing number of Black-owned businesses in the tri-state area.

“We have some phenomenal and very creative businesses (that) really want to make a difference and contribute to their community, and all they need is the right type of leadership and the right people to see them,” said A. Alanda Gregory, founder of the Collective Small Business Alliance of Dubuque.

The group was formed in 2021 with the goal to meet business owners — especially those of color — where they are and connect them to resources, organizations and individuals who can help them launch or expand their business.

Gregory, a Black woman and owner of media management business Tri-Phoenix Group, said Collective Small Business Alliance of Dubuque helps with tasks such as obtaining business cards and developing a business plan or budget. As the group expands, members also hope to offer a business accelerator program and teach business owners about financial literacy, staff retention and other topics.

“Our goal is to empower small businesses to go after their dreams,” Gregory said. “It’s going to be tough, but we want to be the advocates that can help push you through.”

Dubuque resident Caitlin Daniels knows the value of a supportive Black business community. She launched her business, ProlifiC Creations, in early summer 2020. Taking her hobby of crafting and designing custom apparel and accessories to the next level was exciting but daunting.

“I did my first pop-up shop, and I was so nervous, so anxious,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’ve never done anything like this. I don’t know if I’m going to have any interest or sales.’”

Over a year and a half later, Daniels’ business is thriving, and she is grateful for the resources that groups such as the alliance have provided.

“It’s a good place to get knowledge and not feel ignorant or embarrassed about having to ask,” she said.

Collective Small Business Alliance of Dubuque this year launched a monthly “business networking mixer,” which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at various locations, including Town Clock Business Center in Dubuque.

“Rather than being overlooked, we want White-owned businesses to begin looking at small businesses of color as a partner in the future,” organizer Dale Campbell Jr. wrote in an email.

Frazier already has embraced working with multiple demographics. Her clients come from a wide range of ethnicities, and she recently attended a class on different types of hair extensions to expand the services she can offer to clients with varying hair textures.

“I’m not just a Black salon, so I need to be a strong stylist so I can service anyone who walks through my doors,” she said.

Renee Dunn launched her Dubuque business, Turnt Kidz Dance Organization, in 2017.

As a child in Chicago, she participated in dance teams and learned from her mother, a cheer and dance coach. Upon moving to Dubuque, she wanted to bring that opportunity to the children in her new city.

“I started (my business) at a park playing music out of my trunk, because I saw that this town didn’t really have anything for the Black community, especially kids, when it came to dance,” she said.

For several years, Turnt Kidz collaborated with the Multicultural Family Center, which assisted with competition fees, costumes and more. Now, Dunn is proud to operate independently, with nine young participants who practice majorette and hip hop dance three nights a week. The group travels to regional competitions and has performed at many tri-state area events, such as Juneteenth programs and college basketball games.

“I’m excited to see that people love to see us perform,” Dunn said. “The most important thing is us being able to keep our traditions going.”

Daniels, too, strives to “uplift everybody” with her business by offering products that celebrate Black pride, natural hair and being confident in one’s own skin.

“I do that all year-round, not just in February (for Black History Month) or when Juneteenth rolls around,” she said.