Malamiah Juice Bar expands to Studio Park becoming first Black Owned Business in complex
After six years in Grand Rapids downtown market, Malamiah Juice Bar is moving to the newly opened Studio Park located within the busy intersections of Ionia Avenue, and Cherry and Oakes Street. Jermale Eddie co owns the business with his wife Anissa Eddie and he says that starting Malamiah Juice Bar was an avenue to closing the wealth gap within their families and communities.
“For us, we feel like we are the little guy, sort of speak, when it comes to juice bars and what not in our city and even in the national scale, not that many Black owned juice bars out there but we are making strides.”
The number of African American owned business incased 37% between 2007 and 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and while that overall growth is exceptional African Americans consistently face more hurdles when accessing financing opportunities according to a 2017 report by the Atlanta and Cleveland Reserve Banks.
For Eddie the biggest barrier in starting his business was in not knowing exactly what it took to start a business.
“We haven’t always been given information, and even access to the information when it comes to what is needed to applying for loans, what is needed to get a business plan together. We had to learn a whole new language when it came to starting this business, and who do you know that is an account and who do you know who is an entrepreneur so that you can ask questions for, and a lot of times we have lacked the ability to find an entrepreneur of color who can mentor us on the journey.”
Even though it wasn’t easy to get started, Eddie says much of their success has been because of the community has chosen to show up in support of Malamiah Juice Bar.
“Community has supported us tremendously from all walks of life. Our tagline, in the window right here, is: healthy comes in all color. The diversity of those who have supported us has been tremendous.”
Today, Malamiah Juice Bar employs seven people and is open every day of the week at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids. Their menu includes juices, smoothies, salads, wraps, grain bowls, and home-made peanut butter.
Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.