Meet Glenn Alan and Cynthia Gordy, the Team Celebrating and Identifying Black-Owned Businesses in Brooklyn

Glenn Alan and Cynthia Gordy, the duo behind Instagram’s “Black Owned Brooklyn” (Paul Stremple/BKLYNER)

by Paul Stremple via bklyner.com

Last week, our list of black-owned coffeeshops generated an enormous reader response. Even Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams got in on the action launching a Tour, pledging to visit all of the shops mentioned, shining a light on local businesses.

This is how we met Cynthia Gordy and Glenn Alan – two Brooklyn residents who had launched their own project to celebrate and document the black-owned businesses of Brooklyn. They’d been kicking the idea around since last summer, at least, but about eight weeks ago, Cynthia and Glenn launched Black Owned Brooklyn, an Instagram (and website) dedicated to curating and cataloging exemplary black-owned businesses throughout the borough.

Calling the project “love letters to Brooklyn’s people, places and products,” the two spend a few hours each Saturday seeking out new black-owned businesses to highlight, from handmade clothes to carry-out food, swanky bars to vegan cafés.

Gordy, 36, grew up in Philly but has spent the last three years living in Bed-Stuy, by way of Harlem and D.C. Alan grew up in the Bronx, then found himself living in Harlem once he was on his own. A few years back, all his uptown friends seemed to migrate to Brooklyn, so he made his way across the East River as well, and has spent the last couple years in Crown Heights.

Surprisingly, given its polish and professionalism, Black Owned Brooklyn is a side project for the very busy Gordy and Alan. Wanting to not only to catalog and celebrate the businesses they love, they were also looking for a creative outlet outside of their nine-to-five work. Alan, a project manager in the fashion industry, does the excellent photography for the posts, while Gordy, a former journalist who works in marketing, writes the copy and tells the stories for each place they feature.

Many of the posts so far have been focused around Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy, which makes sense—it’s where the creators live and it’s where they know. But as the following of their Instagram grows, they’re excited to branch out to new neighborhoods and types of businesses.

Moving between restaurants and retail, plant-shops and bars, the two are conscious to keep a mix of everyday and elevated, affordable and splashy, making sure they appeal to all types of Brooklynites. One of their first posts was about Jemz, a “quiet, inconspicuous” spot they knew and loved.

As Brooklyn communities, and especially communities of color, see a major influx of new residents, supporting local businesses is a key part of keeping some sense of community, of culture. “When I say residents, I don’t just mean black residents,” Gordy stresses. The guide is for everyone, especially those increasingly concerned about how and where they spend their money, who they support.

“I think that is what’s most important: conscious consumption,” says Alan. “Yes, it’s Black Owned Brooklyn, but it’s local—it’s about the neighborhood.”

No matter where they take things, it’s not likely they’ll run out of material anytime soon. Each business owner they interview has another recommendation to make, and readers are shouting out their favorite spots as well.

“People were hungry for this,” said Gordy, who is happy to learn more about the borough she and Alan call home. It’s made them more intentional, more aware of their neighborhoods, they said, as they go through their days and interact with local businesses.

“It’s not a well that ever runs dry,” said Gordy.

To read full article, go to: https://bklyner.com/black-owned-brooklyn/

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