Roanoke black-owned businesses thankful for support, encourage more conversations

Digital Originals

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Several posts on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, are encouraging others to support local black-owned business in the Roanoke Valley.

Shaqueena Snydor, also known as Chef Queen, runs Queen’s Vegan Cafe, LLC. She caters her vegan cuisine at events and promotes benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Recently, she participated in and catered food at the Roanoke Prayer Vigil and March for Hope and Unity on Saturday, June 6.

“It was a peaceful protest full of love, unity, all walks of life.”

She has noticed people shining a light on her business more often. People were interested in knowing more about Chef Queen and her business.

She says she’s very proud to be a black-owned, woman-owned business; but she knows it’s bigger than her.

“There are so many prosperous and so many beautiful black-owned businesses here in the Valley that need a light shined on their business,” she said. “A little bit more of a boost and recognition.”

RND Coffee Lounge is another black-owned business in the Roanoke Valley that was founded more than a year ago by brothers Quincy and Steffon Randolph.

“It has always been envisioned as a space for people to come, gather, have coffee, chat with us, chat with others, and to be a safe space for all,” said Quincy.

On Sunday, June 7, the brothers posted a video in response to the death of George Floyd. While Quincy admits that him and his brother are “quiet by nature”, they are open to conversations about topics, such as racism, black stereotypes, and oppression.

“I wish we could all come forward and hold hands and be lovey with each other, but I know that’s not the way the world works. At least, no yet,” Quincy said. “So we’re trying to go above and beyond to show more people what we’re both capable of, while also being compassionate to everyone has always kind of been our motivation.

Quincy says he’s incredibly thankful for the support people have shown toward black-owned businesses as of recently, which will allow RND Coffee to give back to the community in the future and grow and expand.

“As much as we appreciate it, let’s continue to support other black-owned businesses, but let’s also focus on some of the specific groups and organizations,” he said. “Especially in a time like right now, where there’s a real political climate shift, [these groups and organizations] can potentially do more with each dollar that they bring in.”

Both RND Coffee and Queen’s Vegan Cafe want people to speak up and continue to have these conversations with each other, whether it’s to help local businesses or help learn about each other.

“I think unity is the most important thing,” Snydor said. “Everybody coming together, pulling resources to help and uplift these local businesses.”

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