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Highlighting Black-owned businesses in Los Angeles


Staff of Alta Adams at the Center Theatre Group Black Owned Business event for “Clyde’s” at the Mark Taper Forum on November 18th, 2022.

On November 18th, Center Theatre Group hosted its first Black-owned business event before the evening performance of Clyde’s. The play takes place in a local business– a truck-stop diner where the main characters work. In the spirit of the play’s theme, patrons were treated to offerings from six different Black owned businesses local to the Los Angeles area which included Alta Adams, BBQ King, Gwen’s Specialty Cakes, Lura’s Kitchen, Sip & Sonder, and South LA Café with music from the band Timeless Creations.

Sip & Sonder and Lura’s Kitchen are two of the businesses we’d like to highlight.

Sip & Sonder is a global Black woman-owned coffee brand, with a portfolio of coffee houses in Inglewood and the Music Center. Community building is also at the core of Sip & Sonder’s business—they have a nonprofit, Sonder Impact, which empowers Black community members through personal and professional development programs and initiatives. At the event, they showcased their single-origin Peru brewed coffee and the Onyx charcoal and vanilla specialty latte. Co-Founder of Sip & Sonder Shanita Nicholas said that “coalescing communities within [the] event was beautiful to experience.” She added that she and her team made new friends and connections with not only the patrons in attendance but with the other participating businesses.

Lura’s Kitchen is a multi-generational family business selling packaged cookie mixes inspired by family recipes. Owner Lura Ball’s cookie mixes have stories inspired by important events and people in her life, be it the history of the Tea Cake or an homage to her favorite person (and picky eater), her sister. “[Baking] is something that I could do to show my love for somebody with something you can't buy,” she said. At the event, she provided baked samples of her mixes for patrons to try. “It was really a great evening–I was able to talk with people, share my story, bring a little love with [my] sweets, and watch people have a great time before they saw the [play],” Ball said.

Kiyomi Emi, Center Theatre Group’s Senior Manager [of] Marketing Events & Partnerships, said, “When planning this event, we wanted to feature Black-owned business in the community of Los Angeles. This was the first time [Center Theatre Group] has done an event like this. We were able to introduce many to the Mark Taper Forum, and these businesses.”

Take a look at some of the photos from that night!

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