There has been a tendency to generally focus on Black businessmen, and a limited amount of focus on Black businesswomen. I don’t believe it is intentional but a tremendous number of Black women have exhibited the entrepreneurial spirit. There have been those who are nationally known such as Madam C.J. Walker in 1934 and Oprah in 2012.


In Allegheny County currently there are a multitude of Black female-owned businesses and in this week’s column some will be highlighted. I have often wondered why we as a community are not more aware of them. Is it because they don’t advertise, because they hope that word of mouth will suffice, or they believe it is too expensive or they just fail to recognize the effectiveness of advertising?

There are Black female attorneys who have their own practice such as Shelia Ford, Jacqueline K. Stevens and Lena Bryan Henderson. In the Hill District there are two funeral parlors on Wylie Avenue owned by Black women—Samuel J. Jones Funeral Home (Carol L. Baker) and West Funeral Home (Karen West Butler).

Dr. Diane Johnson is a podiatrist in the East End area, LeeAndrea Benton has Benton Design Photography in the Carnegie/ Heidelberg area and Denise Jones has Jones Printing in Homewood.

In the insurance business there are Carolyn Dorsey, Donna Fleming, Grace Robinson, Darlene Shelton Lamont and Nadine Thompson.

There are a number of spas—A Step Above Day Spa, Fahrenheit 212 and World of Serenity. There is Kathy Bynum at Bynums Marketing, Shirley Muhammad at Your Professional Tax Services, and Charlene and Cheryl McAbee at River Development Corporation. Celeta Hickman and Lakeisha Wolf are the driving force of Ujamaa Collective.

There has always been a lengthy history of Black females who owned hair salons, restaurants, bakeries and catering businesses.

I left the most unusual Black female-owned business for last—Poole Bonding Service whose owner is Letha Poole-Nelson. A company founded by the late Herbert Beans in 1987 who died in 1988 was continued under the guidance of Jeannette Poole, who passed away in 2009. Letha assumed control and renamed the family business “Bailout with Poole bonding.” I had a discussion with Letha and she explained that her business is a genuine needed service that is available 24 hours, seven days a week. She concluded the discussion by being very emphatic and stated that her parents instilled in her a deep sense of giving back to the community and that success can be described by providing services for persons young, old and those that are needy.

This is the year 2012; will you make a commitment to send a financial donation to the Kingsley Association?

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)

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