BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More minorities are now business owners in the city.

As Weijia Jiang explains, the huge spike hasn’t gone unnoticed.

At the Teavolve Cafe in Harbor East, business is going very smoothly.

Sunni Gilliam and her fiancé opened up in 2005, part of a huge spike in minority-owned businesses in the Baltimore area.

“We have people coming from Randallstown, Pikesville, Columbia,” said Gilliam.

The U.S. Census shows from 2002 to 2007 the number of African-American owned companies grew by 61 percent, three times the overall growth, to nearly 40,000.

Baltimore Chamber of Commerce president Charles Owens says now those businesses are thriving.

“African-Americans have been in recession since 1620, when we first came here, so we know how to make do in hard times,” said Owens.

Gilliam says she won’t sugarcoat it and admits there are challenges to owning a business. She says she won’t color-code it either, and says tough times exist no matter who you are. She says it’s the support of the minority community that makes a difference.

“When we can speak to someone who mirrors you, who looks like you, you feel confident that you could also achieve something great, could also achieve your dreams,” said Gilliam.

Brittany Williams — who works for Gilliam — couldn’t agree more. She hopes to open a store of her own one day.

“It shows anything is possible and it’s not always about being at a big corporation, corporate America,” said Williams.

Instead, it’s about independent America, which analysts say will get sweeter with time.

The number of minority-owned businesses make up about 15 percent of all businesses in Maryland.

Comments (8)
  1. seashell says:

    I think it’s great for their community, but isn’t it about time they should pass that minority label on to the Asians, Mexicans ,etc. that keep flooding our state and buying up all of the once mom and pop businesses tax free that once thrived. by hard working Americans. Blacks have just as much right . It’s all what road you choose in life no matter if your black or white.

    1. Sally and her sea shell says:

      Hey seashell:

      Put down that PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). The businesses are not tax free. If they(any immigrant, legal or illegal) choose to evade sales or income tax, that is much different. If the immigrants become citizens they are Americans.

      Maybe one day when you stop waiting tables, obtain an education other than “bar talk”, you will be enlightened.


    if your indian or middle east you don’t pay taxes you agree with anyone who writes a article with out knowlege or investigation WAKE UP MARYLAND


    or mexcian free ride for illegals

  4. charles oglesby says:

    Snow is slowly leaving the ground and spring and summer will be here soon, Now is the time to book that SNOW BALL PARTY !!!!!!. To reserve a date please calll 410-419-9453 or email or

    1. willie man hanging says:

      Hey Charlie,…Take a flying f……k at a rolling donut…….dic-head.

  5. SUPER EM says:

    Well alright!!!!!!