‘Spice Girl’, Popular Owner of D.C.’s Spice Suite Buys the Block — Owns $1M Strip Mall for Black-owned Businesses
Washington, D.C.’s Langdon neighborhood is getting its own mini strip mall full of Black-owned women-run businesses.
Angel Gregorio has purchased a $1 million property as the new location for her spice shop that she has dubbed The Spice Suite.
According to Dcist, the 7,500 square foot lot will be the home to four other Black-owned salon businesses within the upcoming weeks, including hair, nails, waxing, and braiding services.
The strip mall that Gregorio called “Black and Forth,” had its soft launch to cut the ribbon to the location.
“It was just this catchy, cool name that I created for how I describe my process of going back-and-forth with Black business owners,” Gregorio said. “And now it is the name of a shopping center—a strip mall —that I own in D.C. So I feel good about that and I’m grateful to be in the space.”
“We have a lot of conversation about affordable housing, but we don’t talk enough about making commercial space affordable for Black women. And so since no one is talking about it, I’m just going to do it and let people talk about it,” Gregorio said.
Gregorio made her million-dollar purchase in December 2021 with the assist of D.C. government dollars. Gregorio’s investment is an expansion of Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration’s mission to increase the share of minority-owned businesses to 33% by 2028.
Council member Kenyan McDuffie helped create the city’s Commercial Property Acquisition Fund, a program where eligible businesses working to expand or maintain a commercial property are awarded grants of up to $750,000 or 25% of the sale price. Reportedly, Gregorio was the fund’s first applicant.
“We’re going to keep making these sorts of investments, so we can do the sorts of transformational things that allow our Black and brown entrepreneurs not only to be great business people [but] to build wealth that they can pass on for generations to come,” McDuffie said at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Spice Suite and Black And Forth.
“The goal of this space is to build community,” Gregorio said.
“I want this to become the model,” Gregorio said at the ceremony. “I want to be able to consult for free and talk to other people on how to do this in your city, in your quadrant, so this becomes the standard of how we care for each other and how we show up for community.”
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Plans for the strip mall include a farmers market in the spring featuring Black farmers and growers, markets, and popup shops.
The Spice Suite is open Thursday through Sunday at 2201 Channing St. NE.