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Spotlight on Black-Owned Businesses in the Shenandoah Valley

Coffee Corner

The Shenandoah Valley is rich in both breathtaking landscapes and diverse and vibrant communities. Black-owned businesses contribute to the area’s unique charm. Here’s a selection of establishments specializing in food, wine, self-care services, and preserving history.


Nestled near the entrance of Rockbridge Regional Library, downtown Lexington’s Coffee Corner by LTEC serves up hot coffee and tea as well as a sweet selection of fresh baked goods like fresh-made brownies, Danish, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and gluten-free options. If you like the treats at the library, check out owner Melissa Wooding’s other business, Let Them Eat Cake, which creates scratch-made cakes, cupcakes, and pies for your special event (or any time you crave something delicious). Wooding graduated from The Walker Program, “a citizen-led initiative to address racial inequity in the local economic sector.” The program helps establish and support area Black-owned businesses, including Buena Vista soul food restaurant Comfort Cravings and Lexington’s Tina’s Balloon Emporium.

Coffee Corner 3 1

Even people who don’t love barbeque will love Staunton’s Brisket Taco Company, a restaurant that uses locally sourced, Texas-style smoked brisket and local toppings and cheeses. The menu includes tacos, breakfast tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and sides like peppery coleslaw,  smoked mac and cheese, and Texas Twinkies, which are jalapenos stuffed with brisket and cheese and wrapped in bacon. Menu items are customizable and include vegan and vegetarian choices like the Texas tator taco. Vegan and vegetarian options are cooked on a separate grill.

Spotlight On Black Owned Businesses In The Shenandoah Valley

Also, check out Waynesboro’s The French Press, a downtown coffee and community gathering spot, and Buena Vista’s Hewitt Jamaican Cuisine. For dessert, see what’s new at Harrisonburg’s Branch’s Soft Serve Ice Cream and Sweet Joy’s Cakes and Desserts.

Spotlight On Black Owned Businesses In The Shenandoah Valley


Harrisonburg’s Nightcap by Merge is a new business venture by Merge Coffee Company, dedicated to providing a “cozy, chic space that bridges the gap between sophistication and comfort.” Relax and enjoy wines from around the world, craft beer, and elegant wine-based cocktails. Hungry? Nightcap offers an elevated bar menu to pair perfectly with your drinks. Follow up with a dessert like tiramisu or fresh pie. If you’d rather taste Merge’s daytime offerings, check out Merge Coffee Company, where coffee is viewed “not just as a commodity but as a bridge that unites us with our local and global communities.” Choose from a selection of drip, cold brew, iced coffee, and espresso drinks made with fresh-roasted ethically sourced beans.

Spotlight On Black Owned Businesses In The Shenandoah Valley

Another way to enjoy Shenandoah Valley wine is by taking a tour with Eric and Luther Santiful, owners of Edinburg’s Shenandoah Wine Tours. The tour picks up guests at area hotels and transports them along scenic Shenandoah County back roads to three or four wineries. Typical tours last five hours, but you can also customize your tour for a special event or alternate location. Guests can stay full and hydrated with deluxe snack boxes (including vegetarian and gluten-free options) and unlimited water.

Spotlight On Black Owned Businesses In The Shenandoah Valley


Freda’s Skin Studio has helped soothe and smooth Waynesboro skin since 2015. Known for her professionalism as well as her kindness and compassion, master esthetician Freda Jackson offers a range of services including facials, lash and brow services, and waxing. The studio also provides oncology services designed to soothe skin irritated or damaged by chemo and radiation. Trained in helping patients undergoing and recovering from oncology treatment, Freda uses only oncology-approved products. Freda’s also has the specialized equipment needed to provide age-defying and oxygen facials, LED therapy, and salt therapy services that can clear blocked or irritated sinuses.


Other self-care businesses to check out are DeVaughn Evans’s The Band of Barbers Barber Academy (Waynesboro), which provides foundations and advanced coursework in both men’s grooming and business training. Staunton’s Essentially Zen sells natural, artisanal soaps, bath bombs, body butter, and gift boxes and is known for exceptional customer service.


Berryville’s Josephine School Community Museum celebrates the history of Clarke County’s African-American experience and community through objects and stories exhibited in a historic schoolhouse. Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the school was built in 1882 to provide a grade-school education to Black children. After a long history as an educational institution and housing to serve the elderly, the building was renovated and the museum opened in 2003. Besides fascinating historical exhibits, the museum also serves the community with activities like research group meetings, programs for children, and a book club designed to promote literacy and cultural understanding. The museum is open on Sundays from 1 – 3 pm or by appointment.

Spotlight On Black Owned Businesses In The Shenandoah Valley

Waynesboro’s Rosenwald School was built “through a partnership between Julius and Booker T. Washington in what has been called the most important initiative to advance black education in the early 20th century.” It’s now a small museum celebrating Black history and community. Open by appointment.

Another excellent resource for learning about the history of the African-American community is Harrisonburg’s A Journey Through the African American Community of Harrisonburg, which provides a two-day itinerary of important historical and cultural sites.

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