Browse Tag


5 mins read

Couples, Inc. : Joe and Karina Own “Renewed Wellness Integrative Medical Center”

Dr. Joe Taylor and Dr. Karina Sharpe-Taylor are the owners of Renewed Wellness,  where their primary focus is on chiropractic and regenerative medicine.

We caught up with them to find out how they manage being partners in business and in life.

Dr. Joe Taylor and Dr. Karina Sharpe-Taylor

How did you meet each other?

We met in chiropractic college in Port Orange, Florida.  We were actually in the same graduating class.


What influenced your decision to pursue a career as a chiropractor?

Dr. Taylor- While competing as a track and field athlete at The University of Florida I experienced chronic hamstring injuries. Our team medical doctors were only able to provide temporary relief with traditional medical treatment.

As a last resort I was sent to a chiropractor for treatment. I was amazed by his knowledge of the human body, how much fun he seemed to be having working each day and most importantly his ability to identify why I was chronically injured and offer the solution that ultimately saved my career. I fell in love with the profession and the rest is history.


Dr. Karina– While receiving my Masters in Business I began my research into Chiropractic. I have always had a fascination with human anatomy and how it operates.

When I discovered chiropractic, I was amazed that chiropractic is not a profession that is limited to the spine, but how the body functions. From that point on I was sold in treating the body in a holistic fashion.

When you can give the body exactly what it needs to function at its optimal potential it is amazing. Chiropractic restore optimal nerve function throughout the body in order to heal itself.

What is the most important thing to remember when your business partner is also your spouse?

We have found that the most important thing is to remember to remain lovers. Working hard towards our common business goals can easily turn the relationship into being an extension of the business. Although we are both ambitious entrepreneurs that are constantly thinking of ways to expand our brand, we find it helpful to “take the executive hats off” regularly to just enjoy one another.

In what ways do you have similar entrepreneurial traits and in what ways are you different as entrepreneurs?


Dr. Taylor- Dr. Taylor is more of a visionary when it comes to our business. He rarely focuses on the “now” and instant gratification, but always planning what the next 5 moves should be.

Dr. Karina- Dr Karina is more of the executer when it comes to our business. She finds it extremely gratifying to focus on the “now” and is driven by taking immediate action.


Neither of us will ever settle for average. We are also both extremely competitive.  Our vision for exponential growth is a common theme between us.

What are your 5 year goals for the practice?

Within 14 months fully systematize our office to the level of that of a franchise. At this point begin replicating our model of delivering life changing holistic healthcare throughout the state of Florida. By year 5 opening our third location.

What advice do you have for graduates that are interested in starting their own practice?

Become obsessed with setting and achieving your goals. Shadow as many chiropractors as possible to learn what type of practice you want (it must stand out from everyone else). Continue pursuing education in your specialized field.


Sponsored by Renewed Wellness

4047 Okeechobee Blvd., #126
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
Phone: 561-619-8160
Fax: 561-619-8162

1 min read

12 Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

When next you’re in town, check out these Black owned restaurants in Florida. Even if you don’t live there, spread the word to those that do. Let’s give these businesses our businesses. Also, leave a comment with any others you feel should be on the list!

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

Chef Creole

Swirl Wine Bistro (Coconut Creek, FL)


Southern Spice (Hollywood, FL)

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida


Uber Wings (Miami, FL)

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

KC Healthy Cooking (Miami, FL)

House of Mac (Miami, FL)

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

Little Greenhouse Grill (Miami, FL)

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

Soul Veg (Tallahassee, FL)

Awash Ethiopian Restaurant (Miami, FL)

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

Chef Eddie’s ( Orlando, FL)

Nikki’s Place (Orlando, FL)

Black Owned Restaurants in Florida

Soul Food Bistro (Jacksonville, FL)


-Tony O. Lawson

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9 mins read

Abby Dione: The First Black Woman To Own An Indoor Rock Climbing Gym

Abby Dione became the first Black woman in the US to own an indoor rock climbing gym when she purchasedCoral Cliffs Rock Climbing Center in 2011. Here’s why that matters.

Abby Dione, climbing the second pitch of Obstinada (5.11) in San German (Rosario), Puerto Rico.

Dione registers at a petite 5’3”. She has smooth brown skin and close cropped hair and her wiry frame and calm voice command attention. She’s an energizing presence at Coral Cliffs whether she’s coaching the Youth Coral Cliffs Climbing Team or interacting with regulars who frequent the gym. She also represents the changing face of climbing: a sport that is becoming more diverse and increasingly mainstream. Dione is busy creating experiences for young climbers both indoors and outdoors at the crag. She’s cultivating a passion for climbing and bridging the gap between climbing counterculture and new climbing communities.

Climbing is currently experiencing a tremendous surge in popularity across the United States. A 2017 New York Times article, A Boom in Rock Climbing, Minus the Rocks, talks about the challenge owners face of “selling a lifestyle.” Climbing gyms initially started out in garages as a place for outdoor rock climbers to get stronger. Decades later, the transition from very small spaces to mega gyms leaves local gym owners like Dione searching for a third way: how to share an experience and build a community while instilling the “ethics and spirit behind climbing.”

Dione laments that climbing basics like “the simple idea of having a mentor” have been abandoned as climbing gyms professionalize and add amenities to meet a new type of demand. In her view, new climbers need more than simple instruction on climbing gym equipment. They require coaching and mentorship as well as knowledge of climbing history to give them a sense of ownership of their sport. And of course they need to see friendly, familiar faces at the gym. Not everyone shares this approach. Dione’s concern is that if instruction stops at “clip in and hold the rope” instead of explaining that climbing is a series of friction systems, information is being omitted. [She] can see where someone may have an easier time walking into a gym. But how do they get better?”

Dione’s focus is on developing climbers who have the skills they need to safely enjoy the sport both indoors and outdoors. Along the way she’s challenging assumptions and stereotypes without dwelling on them. She reflects on the subtle ways that having to prove yourself as a woman climber continues; even after acquiring experience and sending challenging projects. Sometimes those moments were not so subtle for a Black woman climber: “I’ve been climbing long enough to remember when people would ask me if I was lost.”

Climbing is also experiencing a moment of broadening efforts to diversify the outdoors. They’re being led at the grassroots level by organizations like Brooklyn Boulder’s based Brothers of Climbing, Touchstone Climbing affiliated The Brown Ascenders and national organizations like Brown Girls Climb. There are also corporate efforts like the North Face’s Walls Are For Climbing campaign. In between grassroots and corporate, organizations like the Alpine Ascents affiliated Climbers of Color are focused on education and outdoor leadership for the next generation of mountaineering guides.

Credit: Melanin Base Camp

So where does Dione see herself as both a climbing gym owner and Woman of Color? Her answer is this: “creating opportunities for people to meet and experience how powerful climbing could be. And doing it in a safe and fun environment.” Last October 2017 that meant coaching an introductory bouldering class at the first ever diversity in climbing festival, Color the Crag. She described it as “a cool opportunity to instruct and mentor. I know a lot about climbing. I’m still learning but I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity and gift to teach and share it with people.” Dione’s approach is to produce safe, confident climbers who have an appreciation for the sport and its counterculture roots. And who have the option to climb outside or indoors, whatever they decide.

Credit: Melanin Base Camp

In twelve years of climbing her entire approach to the sport has changed a lot. As a newcomer she was more focused on “ego driven projects” and peak bagging which she described as “anxiety inducing.” There was a lot of pressure to “send,” a climber’s term for successfully completing a named climbing route. Her focus isn’t on climbing projects—not anymore. Right now she’s interested in “increasing overall strength and power, finger strength, and flexibility. Climbing is either pushing, pulling or hanging, and I’m more interested in doing incremental growth in each one of these areas.”

That makes a lot of sense for a climbing gym owner and climbing coach. Dione trains everything from finger strength to core strength to maximum pull and push before jumping on something at her limit to see how it feels. Instead of training goals and upcoming climbs she talks about “trying to hack my climbing growth with curiosity and playfulness.”

Dione frames her thoughts on climbing in the context of twelve years of lessons learned. It’s great advice for anyone who’s enjoyed a sport or outdoor activity for so long that it starts to lose its luster. How do you get the edge back? Dione had this to share: “When you start doing something long enough you arrive at a certain physical aptitude for recreational activity where you realize that your mind is where you get the most growth. Your mind is the limiting factor.” So that’s one area where she chooses to focus her efforts.

So if climbing isn’t about getting really strong and sending challenging projects, what is it about? Dione believes the sport has a lot to offer; especially for young people. Her “hope is that they don’t limit themselves by chasing numbers or by looking around to see who is doing what?” So what’s the secret to keeping kids excited about the sport? For Dione, it’s a mixture of passion and humility as well as not doing too much too fast. Climbing grades are super subjective; what you climb in the gym is great but outside is different and “the sooner people realize that stuff doesn’t matter, the better.”

Coral Cliffs is located at 3400 Southwest 26th Terrace, A4, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312. Visit them on Facebook or Instagram to learn more.


Source: Melanin Base Camp

16 mins read

Florida Black Owned Businesses Cherish history, Seek renewal

In the days of segregation, African-Americans owned a network of businesses on Gainesville’s south side to serve the needs of minority residents who were often barred from entering pharmacies, grocery stores and other establishments across the city that only served white residents.

“Before integration, there were certain services and other things you couldn’t avail yourself of downtown,” said Linda Hutchins, a retired teacher who graduated in 1966 from E.E. Butler High School, which served Gainesville’s black students before desegregation. She was the first African-American graduate of Gainesville College in June 1968.

But with integration, the landscape of black-owned businesses in Gainesville began to slowly change.

“What happened was people were able to use other facilities or other businesses for patronage and took advantage,” Hutchins said, adding that some black businesses struggled to compete in a market that widely expanded within a few years.

In the ensuing decades, residential neighborhoods across Gainesville experienced generational and some demographic turnover.

Florida Black Owned Businesses
Mike Holeman trims Michael Walton’s beard Friday, June 15, 2018 at Randolph’s Barber Shop on Athens Street. The barber shop is only one of a handful of black-owned businesses in Gainesville, but a new generation is looking to reverse the trend and go into business for themselves. – photo by Scott Rogers

Athens Street has been a historical hub of activity in the local black community “because of the concentration of residential housing on the south side,” said Rose Johnson, executive director of the Newtown Florist Club, a six-decades-old civil rights organization rooted in Gainesville’s African-American community.But now, “as housing patterns continue to change, families whose children grew up in this community now live in different parts of the county,” she added.

As for small businesses, there are barriers, such as affordable building space to purchase or lease, that have pushed some black-owned startups to other corners of Gainesville and Hall County, Johnson said, “which means keeping track of minority businesses is more difficult.” It can even be difficult to afford office supplies. This is why it is integral that there is such a wide price range of quality office supplies online to help business receive the necessary tools to enable business growth.

A growing black entrepreneurial class, however, is sparking talk of a re-emergent African-American business community in Gainesville and Hall County.

For example, members of the Newtown club have been working over the last year to identify and catalogue black-owned businesses through its Strengthening Community Capacity program.

They have discovered that a dozen or more black-owned businesses have been operating, and thriving, for two decades or more, including Monique’s salon, Walter Rucker Attorney at Law, Young’s Funeral Home, A-1 Beauty Supply, Norman Brothers Transportation and Roy Johnson & Son Landscaping.

Florida Black Owned Businesses
Carol J. Leverette checks a pan of macaroni and cheese in the oven Friday, June 15, 2018 at M & M Down Home Catering on Athens Street. The loss of black-owned businesses is a sore that older African-Americans have grown to lament in Gainesville, but a new generation is looking to rekindle this legacy. – photo by Scott Rogers

The club has documented over a 100 black-owned local businesses in all, including “caterers, contractors, cleaning services, insurance agents, money managers, published authors, restaurants owners, churches, nonprofits and independent product distributors,” Johnson said.The U.S. Census Bureau reports that businesses owned by African-Americans nationwide increased to 9.4 percent of U.S. companies in 2012 from 7.1 percent in 2007.

“Over the course of time, we have come to realize that this new emergence of black entrepreneurs creates an excellent opportunity for the establishment of a Black Chamber of Commerce once they are connected to each other,” Johnson said. “We look forward to publishing the Black Business and Community Resource Directory within the next few months.”

Legacy carried forth

For Gainesville’s African-Americans, the first half of the 20th century was spent in tight support of each other.

Textile production replaced cotton mills as the leading industry in Gainesville at the dawn of the 1900s, and from Newtown to New Holland to Chicopee, the city’s neighborhoods began to grow.

During World War II, Jesse Jewell introduced poultry processing to the area, forever altering the city’s image.

But all along, black-owned businesses met the needs of minorities cut off from many public services and private businesses.

“This energy has historically been concentrated along Athens Street, where black-owned businesses have thrived for decades, nurturing a richness in the community that meant more than finances,” Johnson said.

From the bank to the barber to the butcher to the baker, black residents tapped the resources available to them and made do.

Florida Black Owned Businesses
Davon Ivey cuts Master Chief Kevin Harris’s hair at Randolph’s Barber Shop on Athens Street Friday, June 15, 2018. The loss of black-owned businesses is a sore that older African-Americans have grown to lament in Gainesville, but a new generation is looking to rekindle this legacy. – photo by Scott Rogers

According to information from the Beulah Rucker Museum and Education Center in Gainesville, black-owned businesses in the early to latter half of the 1900s were numerous and robust. The museum itself is named after a pioneering black woman who founded The Industrial School in Gainesville in 1914 to “provide opportunities to the region’s black youth at a time when such opportunities were rare or non-existent.”Business owners included those like Walter Chamblee, who owned Chamblee Drug Store along the Athens Street corridor.

The impact black business owners had on the community was not relegated to just minority neighborhoods, however. According to the Rucker Museum, in the 1920s, “when the city of Gainesville was in dire financial need, George Stephens, an African-American businessman, loaned the city of Gainesville $10,000 to help in their financial crisis. Mr. Stephens was a successful tailor and owner of a dry cleaner.”

By the 1950s, a chamber of commerce representing minority businesses on Gainesville’s south side was reaching its peak, Hutchins said.

Even today, Athens Street remains an important corridor for black professionals, small business owners, patrons and residents of Gainesville’s south side.

But things change, too.

“I think you had more black-owned businesses back then because you had that need,” said Davon Ivey, a local barber who works at the shop on Athens Street, referring not just to the number of black-owned businesses in Gainesville during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, but also the impact and legacy they continue to have on the city. “It was more relevant because we had to have it.”

Martha Randolph has worked in a variety of trades for the past four decades, but the Gainesville resident points to opening her own hair salon in the mid-1980s as the turning point in her life.

In addition to now operating a catering service, Randolph also owns a commercial building on Athens Street, leasing space to other minority-owned businesses.

“It’s trying to come back,” she said of black entrepreneurship. “I’ve talked with a lot of people that want to start a business.”

Florida Black Owned Businesses
Randolph’s Barber Shop barber Davon Ivey cuts Kevin Harris’s hair Friday, June 15, 2018 at the Athens Street barber shop. The loss of black-owned businesses is a sore that older African-Americans have grown to lament in Gainesville, but a new generation is looking to rekindle this legacy. – photo by Scott Rogers

Randolph said anyone looking to start their own business needs a mentor, someone who can show them how to turn their passion into a financial success. And don’t expect to turn a profit for two to three years, she added. This new era of entrepreneurial activity in the black community looks promising to those African-Americans who have witnessed much history and change in Gainesville. An opportunity now awaits in a widespread fashion that simply didn’t exist generations ago. Even industries such as steel are not poisoned by prejudicial racism. Black business owners are now reaching the top of the capitalist tree, with business taking off, allowing black business owners to run companies with new industry-specific equipment like computers, workstations, and industrial pointing devices.

“There’s still work to be done,” Hutchins said. “But there is an awakening for the need to come in and establish one’s own.”

The future is born

Ivey came to a barber’s life quite naturally.

From a young age, “I felt like that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

And so he did.

“If you got something you love to do,” he said, “don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. And don’t allow pride to hold you back.”

That’s good advice for someone like Marcquel Woodard, 21, a 2014 Gainesville High graduate now studying business management at Fort Valley State University in Middle Georgia.

Woodard, who is living and working this summer in Gainesville, said he has several business ideas he’s working on while finishing his college degree.

They include such things as purchasing and supplying ATMs for various businesses, and investing in real estate to support affordable housing development.

Woodard believes it’s important that businesses give back to the communities who sustain them. It’s about words, action and money, he said.

“For sure, I want to stay active in the community I was raised in,” he said, but added he wants to “create black businesses … from Gainesville to Atlanta to cities across the United States.”

The challenges that await Woodard are many.

Some are like those faced by minority business owners before him.

Florida Black Owned Businesses
Michael Walton gets his hair cut and beard trimmed Friday, June 15, 2018 by Mike Holeman at Randolph’s Barber Shop on Athens Street. The loss of black-owned businesses is a sore that older African-Americans have grown to lament in Gainesville, but a new generation is looking to rekindle this legacy. – photo by Scott Rogers

“Young African-American adults have established businesses at an incredible pace,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, the challenges that continue to hinder their efforts are the inability to secure bank loans, the lack of available, accessible resources like investment capital and other services to support movement from startup to sustainability.”

Others will mark a sign of the times, though they will be no less difficult to navigate.

“Personally, I think that one of the hardest things to do now as a young person, in general, is to stay focused,” Woodard said, adding that distractions are everywhere.

So how does he plan to stay on task so he can achieve his goals and dreams in business? By saving money and developing relationships. It may be useful for Woodard to use the services of an SEO company to help him on his path into the future. Whitehat is among the companies that provide this service. Whitehat noted how important it is that businesses take advantage of their services to ensure increased online traffic that will ultimately lead to greater exposure.

“The more I work toward it, the more likely it will come to fruition,” Woodard said.

Woodard is the kind of evidence that Johnson points to as a “new reality that the black business community has reformed itself.”

“This rebirth has given rise to a new identity, with dynamic entrepreneurs determined to remain self-employed regardless of the obstacles they face,” she added.

Source: Gainsville Times