The Bulls and BMO announce the 2022-23 regular season and a third year of the BMO Black Owned Business initiative at Just Don in Fulton Market.
In partnership with BMO, the Bulls launched the third season of the BMO Black Owned Business campaign – an initiative focused on raising awareness of black-owned businesses throughout Chicago and uplifting black entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in the community.
As part of the initiative, the Bulls highlight one business per month at the game, on social media and on game day telecasts throughout the season, detailing the story and inspiration behind each business in the words of its owner.
On Oct. 5, the Bulls and BMO hosted an informational event at Just Don — a retail and community gathering space owned by Bulls Creative Strategy and Design Advisor Don C. — to honor the 2021-22 cohort of businesses black-owned and to announce those selected for the 2022-23 season along with Bulls players and representatives from the Bulls and BMO.
The night began with remarks by Don C., Bulls Vice President of Community Engagement Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry and BMO Wealth Management US President Darrel Hackett. Event highlights include two panel discussions – one with this season’s featured business owners led by Bulls Community Relations Director Erica Bauer and another with Bulls players Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr. and Dalen Terry led by Don C. .
Guests enjoyed food provided by Virtue Restaurant and Bar – one of the 2021-22 Black-owned team businesses, a variety of beers from Funkytown Brewery and a raffle to win prizes from each business featured in 2022-23 and a jersey featuring autographs from Bulls and Legends players.
The initiative launched in 2020 as an extension of the Bulls’ commitment to community investment, one of the four pillars of its community violence prevention strategy, and commitment to empowering Black-owned businesses, nonprofits and Black civic leaders.
The Bulls 2022-23 BMO Black-Owned Business Group includes –
- Next man up: Based in Bronzeville (946 E 43st St), Next Man Up focuses on men’s health and wellness, offering them the ultimate spa experience and a destination to relax and unwind. Services include haircuts, massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and more.
- Funkytown Brewery: The owners of Funkytown Brewery started their business to add the perspective of Black brewers to the beer industry. Located in Logan Square (2140 N Milwaukee Ave), Funkytown was founded by three friends in 2017. Through quality beer, creative labels and a fresh perspective, Funkytown offers a creative and much-needed perspective to a predominantly white industry.
- PupStars: Located in the West Loop (2337 W Lake St), PupStars is a one-stop shop for pet owners, offering day care, boarding, dog walking, grooming and training services. Her mission is to provide optimal personal care for all pets while providing a safe, clean and stimulating environment.
- Ebb and flow: Eb and Flow, co-owned by a mother-daughter duo, offers a variety of yoga classes in the Wicker Park neighborhood (2125 W North Ave). The duo welcomes individuals of all skill levels to the studio to experience the transformative power of yoga.
- Cleo’s Southern Kitchen: Located in Bronzeville (4248 S Cottage Grove Ave), Cleo’s Southern Cuisine aims to bring haute southern cuisine to the historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Cleo’s pays homage to Chef Kristen Ashley’s grandmother, whose memory lives on through her amazing recipes.
This season, the Bulls added a new element to the initiative. Fans are encouraged to visit each featured business and scan a QR code while there to receive a $10 BMO gift card as part of their visit. After visiting at least four of the businesses, fans will enter to win a VIP in-game experience at a Bulls home game in April for them and three guests.
To learn more about each business and what the Bulls are doing off the field in the community, follow the Bulls Community on Twitter and Instagram @bullscommunity.
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