New Black Wall Street Market bolsters minority-owned food businesses

Food will play a significant role at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. Shown here is one of the "streets" inside the venue. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Food will play a significant role at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. Shown here is one of the "streets" inside the venue. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Stonecrest’s 125,000-square-foot marketplace to include food stalls, restaurants, grocery story and pop-ups

Bourbon Street was hopping on a recent Sunday afternoon. The crowd wasn’t quaffing Hurricanes, however. Folks were getting a sugar fix from Lil’ Rhody frozen lemonade and Pearly Sweetz mini Bundt cakes as they strolled Stonecrest’s newest shopping destination.

Bourbon Street is the name for the main corridor inside the New Black Wall Street Market, the 125,000-square-foot marketplace that sits across the street from Stonecrest Mall. Open since Oct. 30 with limited hours, the south DeKalb project is the brainchild of philanthropist and businessman Lecester “Bill” Allen, founder of the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute, who envisions the venue as a space to foster Black- and other minority-owned businesses. The development was inspired by the original Black Wall Street, a thriving Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was the site of a race massacre a century ago.

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The New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest is envisioned as a space to foster Black- and other minority-owned businesses. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

The New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest is envisioned as a space to foster Black- and other minority-owned businesses. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
The New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest is envisioned as a space to foster Black- and other minority-owned businesses. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

While the Stonecrest venue will have space for more than 100 retail operators, food will play a significant role. Space has been earmarked for 17 food and dining concepts that include a full-service grocery store, three anchor restaurants, a co-op bakery and a dozen food hall stalls.

The grocery store, restaurants and food stalls are expected to open in early 2022. Meanwhile, the bakery is operating, and weekend pop-up events bring food vendors whose concepts range from fried catfish to wellness-minded smoothies to rolled ice cream.

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The New Black Wall Street Market will keep shoppers well-fed, including with fresh baked goods from the bakery area. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

The New Black Wall Street Market will keep shoppers well-fed, including with fresh baked goods from the bakery area. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
The New Black Wall Street Market will keep shoppers well-fed, including with fresh baked goods from the bakery area. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Behind the bakery counter, Icing on the Cake owners Sal Bando and his wife, Kezmit Columbus, stayed busy selling weekend shoppers Bando’s red velvet cheesecake and Key lime pie cupcakes. Bando came out of retirement four years ago to turn his baking hobby into a licensed cottage business. The couple view participation in the New Black Wall Street Market not only as an opportunity to grow their company, but also to be part of “something that is going to be history,” Columbus said. “We want to be part of something, part of the neighborhood,” she said.

“I really like the energy,” said Keon Hardeman, owner-baker of Cakes by Keon. Hardeman currently has a store located off Candler Road just south of I-20 in Decatur. In addition, he sells his designer cakes and cupcakes to a handful of restaurants. But he sees potential in having a presence at the Stonecrest site, particularly since the closure of a nearby Sam’s Club location in 2018. “They were doing 500 cakes a day,” he said. “I feel like the people will come here.”

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Caption
Cakes by Keon, which has a store located off Candler Road just south of I-20 in Decatur, now also has a presence at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. Shown here are Banana Pudding (left) and Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Cakes by Keon, which has a store located off Candler Road just south of I-20 in Decatur, now also has a presence at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. Shown here are Banana Pudding (left) and Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Cakes by Keon, which has a store located off Candler Road just south of I-20 in Decatur, now also has a presence at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. Shown here are Banana Pudding (left) and Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

When construction on the food hall is complete, one of the stalls will bear YOL Juice Market signage, marking the next stage in owner Alisha Williams’ 2-year-old business specializing in smoothies, salads and wellness shots. Until now, Williams was selling her products exclusively to restaurants.

“We’re in a food desert. She is helping us make it healthier,” said New Black Wall Street Market director Matt Hampton, who also lives in the area.

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Caption
Samples of items that will be offered at the YOL Juice Market sit out for shoppers at the New Black Wall Street Market. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Samples of items that will be offered at the YOL Juice Market sit out for shoppers at the New Black Wall Street Market. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Samples of items that will be offered at the YOL Juice Market sit out for shoppers at the New Black Wall Street Market. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

The market has space in the rear of the building dedicated to pop-up vendors. “Some people are ready for full-time residency here. Others are pop-ups, some on consignment in the grocery store,” Hampton said. “We’re trying to scale food businesses and see people grow at various levels.”

That includes young entrepreneurs like Cecil W. Brown, 18, who recently launched rolled ice cream concept Rolls of Flame with a cart at Stonecrest Mall. He and his younger brother, Antoine Moon, stayed busy at a recent New Black Wall Street Market pop-up fashioning the frozen sundry into upright rolls and drizzling the dessert with chocolate sauce. “The people go for it,” said the younger Moon.

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Caption
Cecil W. Brown, co-owner of Rolls of Flame rolled ice cream, makes a customer happy at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Cecil W. Brown, co-owner of Rolls of Flame rolled ice cream, makes a customer happy at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Cecil W. Brown, co-owner of Rolls of Flame rolled ice cream, makes a customer happy at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Hampton’s own daughter, Madysen Hampton, 19, dished out loaded nachos and sweet apple-filled fried egg rolls that fuse her Black, Southern and Filipino roots. Although Hampton is a student at Kennesaw State, her concept, Dang Masarap (masarap means “delicious” in Tagalog), will make periodic appearances at the marketplace’s pop-ups.

Plenty of local Black-owned brands will see permanent space on the shelves of Aaron’s Gourmet Market. The full-service grocery store will offer a deli, grab-and-go cases, fresh produce, frozen items, pantry staples, wine and more.

Caption
Plans for the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest include Aaron's Gourmet Market, which will feature plenty of local Black-owned brands. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Plans for the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest include Aaron's Gourmet Market, which will feature plenty of local Black-owned brands. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Plans for the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest include Aaron's Gourmet Market, which will feature plenty of local Black-owned brands. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

“Our goal is to see minority businesses grow, show these folks how to do this, and get them into the Krogers of the world, and see that talent go as far as it can,” said Hampton. “Our job is to develop these entrepreneurs so they can scale it on a national level.”

Caption
New Black Wall Street Market director Matt Hampton wants to make life better for minority entrepreneurs, as well as residents who live near the Stonecrest venue. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

New Black Wall Street Market director Matt Hampton wants to make life better for minority entrepreneurs, as well as residents who live near the Stonecrest venue. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
New Black Wall Street Market director Matt Hampton wants to make life better for minority entrepreneurs, as well as residents who live near the Stonecrest venue. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

And he hopes to create a thriving dining scene for nearby residents.

“We don’t have a classy place,” Hampton said. “This far east, the food scene is a diminishing value. We gotta go all the way to Decatur to get good food.”

Caption
Soul food concept Big Mama's Porch will be one of three sit-down restaurants at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Soul food concept Big Mama's Porch will be one of three sit-down restaurants at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Soul food concept Big Mama's Porch will be one of three sit-down restaurants at the New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

The new year will see the debut of three sit-down restaurants — soul food concept Big Mama’s Porch, the Pink Lions Jazz Club with live entertainment, and Gumbo Cafe. The latter, located near the entrance to the shopping center, will offer a full bar and seat up to 125 inside plus more on a patio.

New Black Wall Street Market. 8109 Mall Parkway, Stonecrest. newblackwallstreet.co. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through Nov. 28. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays beginning Nov. 30.

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