Spotlight On Black-Owned Businesses

Kevin Mays and his family
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MINT HILL, NC – The past year has been difficult for all small business owners, but according to the North Carolina Justice Center, businesses owned by people of color may face an especially difficult road to recovery.  According to a news brief released by the North Carolina Justice Center in September of 2020, “Businesses owned by people of color face a particularly daunting path to recovery, given their concentration in impacted industries, pre-existing financial precariousness attributable to structural racism, and barriers that have prevented them from accessing available aid.”

As we celebrate Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in US history, we encourage you to join us in recognizing and supporting the Black businessmen and women in our community.

Monica Hailey Sharpe, owner of Carolina Hemp Company
Monica Hailey Sharpe, owner of Carolina Hemp Company

Carolina Hemp Company is an education-focused “hemp general store,” a clean, open environment offering products ranging from CBD to hemp extracts, hemp-based foods, and hemp textiles and accessories.

“We don’t consider ourselves ‘salespeople,’” says owner Monica Hailey Sharpe.  “We’re educators, just wanting to make sure that you have the facts about CBD and hemp.  I’m a people person,” she continues.  “I love everyone and give each and everyone that walks through my doors the same respect and attention.  I give everyone a tour of the store and a sample of the products if they want.  I explain what CBD/Hemp is and what to look for – whether you buy from me or elsewhere.”

Carolina Hemp Company
Carolina Hemp Company

Open since May of 2020, Sharpe loves doing business in Mint Hill.  “I was welcomed from day one!” she says, “and I have yet to have a bad day or a rude customer.”

11205 Lawyers Road Suite B | (980) 207-0993 |

Broker-in-Charge Linda Lynch describes Lynch One Realty as a boutique firm that specializes in serving the veteran, minority, and senior communities.   “Lynch One Realty is a female, minority, and disabled veteran-owned real estate company, who truly excels at representing first time home buyers as well as those who are looking to invest in the real estate market,” says Lynch.  

Linda Lynch and Glorivy Minaya of Lynch One Realty
Linda Lynch and Glorivy Minaya of Lynch One Realty

“Understanding the real estate needs of the minority community is also integral at Lynch One Realty,” she continues.  “I and Glorivy Minaya (Realtor) are both female minority Realtors©, and we strive to provide stellar service to our African American and Latinx communities and many others by listening to our clients and approaching each transaction as our top priority.”

A resident of Mint Hill for 14 years, Lynch prides herself on helping families realize their dream of homeownership in this area.  After over four decades in a high-paced, busy city, Lynch found Mint Hill to be a welcome change, a smaller city with easy access to uptown and surrounding cities.  

Although Lynch One Realty is only fourteen years old, Lynch has over 24 years’ experience in buying and selling real estate, and her brokers are licensed in NC, SC, MD, and the District of Columbia.  “Our priority is to provide individual and customized service and support to every person who trusts us with their home buying or selling needs,” says Lynch. | | (704) 560-0974

Located at 7301 Canterway Drive, Wilson Grove Senior Living is a small, 6-bed assisted living facility with a home-like environment.  Owner KC Nwanekwu has been a Mint Hill resident for eight years and continues to enjoy the small and friendly community he found here.

“My facility is the best place anyone can keep their loved parents without worries,” says Nwanekwu.  “I am not just a CEO of a company. I am a caregiver with lots of experience in elderly care. I am a Certified Dementia Practitioner, CNA, Activity director, Medication aide, and CPR instructor.”

7301 Canterway Drive | (704) 222-9483 | | 

Ribbon cutting at Exposed Vegan
Ribbon cutting at Exposed Vegan

Just opened in November of 2020, Exposed Vegan is all about exposing the myths of plant-based lifestyle while providing helpful how To’s, recipes, and educating our communities on working towards building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  

Exposed Vegan is located in West Charlotte, but co-owner Zsa-Zsa Porter has called Mint Hill home for over a decade.  “All three of my kids have gone to public schools in Mint Hill,” says Porter.  “It’s a beautiful, family-friendly neighborhood. We enjoy the local parks, Mint Hill Library, updated sidewalks along 51, and local shops.”  Porter’s whole family works at the business, including her 15-year-old son, who sells his homemade vegan cookies there on weekends.

Exposed Vegan Bowls
Exposed Vegan Bowls

Exposed Vegan offers a unique menu of vegan juices, smoothies, bowls, and soups.  Their three signature bowls – Harriet’s Promise Bowl, Kamala’s Bowl and Let’s Move Bowl – are named for Harriet Tubman, Kamala Harris, and Michelle Obama, three female, African-American leaders who inspire Porter and co-owner Nikkis Campbell.  In honor of Black History month, Exposed Vegan is offering a 5% discount on these bowls in-store or online using discount code BlackHistory.

Porter’s dedication to encouraging a healthy lifestyle goes beyond plant-based cuisine.  Porter is the local ambassador for Black Girls Run, a group whose mission is to “encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority,” and Exposed Vegan partners with Black Girls Run to lead run/walks every Saturday at 9:00 am from the store. 

1540 West Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208 | | FB @expvegan | IG @expvegan

Kevin Mays of Mays Concepts, LLC
Kevin Mays of Mays Concepts, LLC

Back in 2006, Kevin Mays, owner of Mays Concepts LLC, relied on a CPA for tax preparation and was surprised to find out he owed taxes.  Having recently lost his job as a truck driver and curious about how the numbers he received from his CPA fit together, Mays enrolled in an online, Veteran-approved accounting program.  In 2009, he received his BA in Accounting, and Mays Concepts was born.

Located on the corner of Lawyers and Matthews-Mint Hill Road since 2017, Mays Concepts specializes in tax preparation, bookkeeping, quarterly taxes, and payroll. Mays’ services are designed for individual and business clients with specific needs.  Mays prides himself on being not only a twelve-year business owner but also a former Sergeant of the US Army with 6 years of service and a husband to a beautiful school teacher for 25 years.

“COVID has made everything very difficult for all small businesses in Mint Hill, America, and around the world. Still, Black-owned small businesses are always overlooked when it comes to grants, donations, and low-interest loans unlike our counterpart small businesses,” says Mays.  “Because of that fact, I think it is more important right now to assist Black-owned small businesses to assist us in reaching our full potential. We have a lot to offer any community if the community is willing to support us to grow with the community.”

11300 Lawyers Rd | | Office (704) 526-0307 | Cell(704) 641-5379 | | FB @MaysCon

The Core Sports Performance is a sports performance training facility geared towards student-athletes. “Our goal is to create leaders and agents of change for on and off the field/court,” says owner Donovan Davis.

The Core is a family-owned business run by Davis, who does the training, and his wife, who handles the business aspects of the business.  In addition to training athletes, they offer an adult small group fitness class that’s frequented by many of Davis’s students’ parents.  

Relatively new to the Mint Hill Community, The Core Sports Performance opened just last February.  It’s been a strange year to start a business.  “We opened a month and a half before the pandemic really hit, and it crippled our first four months of business.  We’ve really just started growing recently,” says Davis.  “Many Black business owners like myself have built their business from the ground up without any family help or trust fund or even credit from lenders. We invested all of our savings into our facility, so community support means more to us.” 

Davis hopes to continue growing and one day move into a larger facility, but he definitely plans to stay in Mint Hill, which has come to feel like home!

8402 Fairview Rd Suite 106 | (704) 606-8727 |

CoCo So Good
CoCo So Good

Born in the Fall of 2020, CoCo So Good specializes in delicious, premium-flavored hot chocolates that make people feel “so good.”  “CoCo So Good is unique because there is no other local business like it,” says owner Jewel Cannon.  “Our customers love it, it’s conveniently located, and it adds to the economy of Mint Hill!”

CoCo So Good is the sister company to Sammy’s Snowballs, which operates out of the same space from spring through fall.  Facing economic pressure from the ongoing pandemic, CoCo So Good is the brainchild of a family who has a desire to build a business for their children and promote pride and entrepreneurship within the community.

“Historically, Black-owned businesses have less access to capital,” says Cannon.  “Our business not only is Black-owned but we are a seasonal and family business which makes us more vulnerable to economic disruption.  When life handed us a lemon, rather than sulking about it, we chose to make lemonade by launching CoCo So Good in support of its sister company Sammy’s.”

“So many small business owners have poured their heart and souls into their businesses,” continues Cannon.  “Due to the pandemic so much has been on the line, including uncertainty and the possibility of losing it all.  This makes it very bleak and scary.  We believe that small businesses are the core of our community.  Ultimately, we encourage anyone with the means to do something for others to do it. Mint Hill is a family and we are a close net community and doing just one small thing for someone reminds us that we’re in this together and that each effort makes a big difference.”  

8009 Fairview Rd. | (980) 237- 4231 | FB CoCo So Good | IG: CoCoSoGoodMinthill

Kumon Mint Hill offers after-school reading and math programs that students advance through at their own pace.  “Our emphasis on individualized learning helps your child become focused, motivated and self-reliant,” says owner Ayana Dixon.  “We monitor each child’s progress to ensure comprehension before moving on to a new concept. With a strong academic foundation, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities, your child has the potential to achieve whatever he or she desires.”

Dixon started with Kumon as an Assistant in Virginia in 1998. She got married and moved to Charlotte in 2007 and became a Kumon Parent in 2012.  In 2016, Dixon opened Kumon Mint Hill, where she loves the small-town feel and friendly, family-focused people.

“Black-owned businesses took an especially hard hit during the onset of COVID,” says Dixon.  “Kumon Mint Hill appreciates Mint Hill’s continued support.”

7114 Brighton Park Drive Suite 320 | (980) 505-8880

Mint Hill Roasting Company Co-Owners Robert B Smith, III and Annette Smith
Mint Hill Roasting Company Co-Owners Robert B Smith, III and Annette Smith

Mint Hill Roasting Company is a coffeehouse and on-site coffee roastery.  In addition to coffee, they make their own syrups in-house and offer many local products and fresh baked goods.

“We have been in Mint Hill as residents for over 10 years,” says co-owner Annette Smith.  “We began roasting coffee beans at home for ourselves, which then grew to family and friends.  We moved on to selling our beans at Mint Hill Farmer’s market, and with encouragement from family, friends, and the community we opened our storefront in 2017.”

Robert Smith roasting coffee beans on site at Mint Hill Roasting Company
Robert Smith roasting coffee beans on-site at Mint Hill Roasting Company

“The pandemic has been difficult for all small businesses,” continues Smith, “but even without the pandemic, it is important to support Black-owned businesses to continue to build relationships and boost community morale.  It illustrates diversity and inclusion in our town and helps close the wealth gap.”

7201 Matthews Mint Hill Rd | | FB @minthillroastingco | IG @minthillroastingcompany | Twitter @minthillroastin | (980) 875-9584  

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: