Your Guide to Shopping At Independent, Black-Owned Businesses Around Leeds

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Moving to a new city can be daunting and shopping at businesses you know well can make the move a little easier. Small businesses are forgotten along this journey in the interest of safety and familiarity. Our mission is to introduce you to the riches of independent, black-owned businesses across Leeds. 

There are a host of benefits to shopping locally. By shopping at an independent business in your area, you’re bolstering your local economy. The Federation of Small Businesses estimated that 63% of the money spent at independent businesses stays in the local economy compared to 40% for larger businesses. 

The products and service are also likely to be superior to their chain business counterparts. In order to differentiate themselves from larger businesses, the products independent business offer are of higher quality and they are more likely to be experimental with what they sell. 

By shopping locally you’re more likely to get to know the people in your area, helping you to feel more at home and integrated while in Leeds. With the rise of online shopping and superstores, we’ve grown increasingly distant from each other. Shopping at small businesses will bring a smile to your face and make you feel more human. 

Small businesses often operate out of smaller spaces and on smaller margins compared to high street brands. Post lockdown, businesses have found the strict guidelines required for reopening expensive. Additionally, the decreased footfall due to COVID 19 have led to a substantial loss of income. A survey of 3,700 UK small businesses conducted by Simply Business found that the average loss of income in the North East was roughly £15,000.

Here are some independent, black owned businesses you can support in Leeds:

Jerk Express

What is the business?

Jerk Express is a family run business founded in January of 2020, serving home cooked Jamaican food. They started their business “after recognising there were no West Indian food outlets in the Hyde Park area and wanted students to have access to good quality Caribbean food.” They serve a variety of authentic Jamaican meals, as well as chicken burgers and wings “straight from the drum”. Jerk Express “has a strong student community and hopes that this will grow year on year.”

How can you support them?

Jerk Express are located at 159 Cardigan Road, LS6 1LJ. You can either head over to the shop or buy online for delivery or collection. They’re open daily from 11am – 9 pm and you get 10% off on your 1st order. They’ve got meal deals on every day from 12pm – 4pm and now that you’re working from home, there’s no excuse not to grab a mouth-watering Jerk Chicken meal for lunch. 

Delice D’Ivoire

What is the business?

Délice D’Ivoire is a food stand and catering service run by Aïssa Toure. It serves a variety of tasty and traditional West African staples such as jollof rice, fried plantain skewers and mafé. Previously, Délice D’Ivoire could be found outside Blackwell’s serving out of a food truck. During lockdown, Aïssa started posting tutorials on Instagram and YouTube so that people can start making soul food dishes from home. They also started a delivery service, but this has been temporarily suspended. With increased interest, however, it could get back up and running. 

 How can you support them?

Unfortunately Délice D’Ivoire aren’t currently serving food but stay informed by following their Instagram and start cooking your own West African inspired dishes. Here’s a little message from Delice D’Ivoire:

Firstly, Délice D’Ivoire and their team wish you all a Happy Black History Month!

Délice D’Ivoire is the only black African/Caribbean food supplier to offer Leeds Uni food that reminds students of home.

As a consequence of COVID-19, physical trading will not be possible this academic year. 

But we promise you that we will do whatever we can to continue providing you with the best West African soul food around!”

Clothing By Machines (CBYM)

What is the business?

Clothing By Machines is a Leeds based clothing brand that “specialises in custom streetwear and urban style design”. In 2014, after jokingly adding “Humans are dumb” to a t-shirt, CBYM’s business took off. They now produce a wide range of clothing from hats and socks to hoodies, jackets and tracksuits, all of which have unique embroidery and abstract designs. 

How can you support them? From t-shirts with minimal designs to statement jackets, shop on their website to get the latest stylish threads.

Photo Credit: Black Enterprise