Starex Smith wanted to buy Black.
But when the Miami-based food blogger and reviewer went to local grocery stores, he found only the same run-of-the-mill spices, mixes and ingredients. Where, he wondered, were all the flavorful ingredients that made up the cuisines of the Black diaspora from the Caribbean, the South and beyond — made by Black and minority entrepreneurs?
“How do Black entrepreneurs get into stores?” he wondered. “You make great products, but you can’t get in the door.”
He scoured the internet to find the Black-owned food marketplace scattered — but rich. A Black-Mexican tequila distiller. Black-owned wineries in the Anderson Valley. Organic dark chocolate made with cacao imported from Peru, Madagascar and Ecuador. Twenty-one-day, dry-aged beef from cattle raised on Black-owned ranches in East Texas. Vegan Cuban black beans. Ready-to-eat buttermilk biscuits.
So he decided to put it all in one place.
Smith, who blogs under the