Bulls Celebrate and Introduce 2022-23 BMO Black Owned Business Cohort


The Bulls and BMO announce the 2022-23 regular season and a third year of the BMO Black Owned Business initiative at Just Don in Fulton Market.

In partnership with BMO, the Bulls launched the third season of the BMO Black Owned Business campaign – an initiative to raise awareness of Black-owned businesses in Chicago and elevate Black entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in the community.

As part of the initiative, the Bulls are highlighting one company per month in-game, on social media and on game-day TV shows throughout the season, detailing the story and inspiration behind each company in the words of its owner.

On Oct. 5, the Bulls and BMO hosted a whistleblower event at Just Don — a community gathering and retail space owned by Bulls creative strategy and design adviser Don C. — to honor the 2021-22 cohort black-owned businesses and to announce those selected for the 2022-23 season alongside Bulls players and representatives of the Bulls and BMO.

The evening began with remarks from Don C., Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry, the Bulls’ vice president of community engagement, and Darrel Hackett, head of BMO Wealth Management US. Highlights of the event include two roundtables – one with this season’s featured business owners led by Bulls Director of Community Relations Erica Bauer and another with Bulls players Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr. and Dalen Terry led by Don C.

Guests enjoyed food provided by Virtue Restaurant and Bar – one of the Black-owned businesses on the 2021-22 team, an assortment of beers from the Funkytown Brewery and a raffle to win prizes from each business featuring 2022-23 and an autographed jersey by Bulls and Legends players.

The initiative was launched in 2020 as an extension of the Bulls’ commitment to community investment, one of the four pillars of its community violence prevention strategy, and its dedication to building community-owned businesses. black people, non-profit organizations and black civic leaders.

The 2022-2023 cohort of BMO Black Owned Business Bulls includes –

  • Next man: Based in Bronzeville (946 E 43rd St), Next Man Up focuses on men’s health and well-being, providing them with the ultimate spa experience and a destination to relax and unwind. Services include haircuts, massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and more.
  • Funkytown Brewery: The owners of Funkytown Brewery started their business to add the perspective of black brewers to the beer industry. Located in Logan Square (2140 N Milwaukee Ave), Funkytown was founded by three friends in 2017. Through quality beer, creative labels and a fresh perspective, Funkytown provides a much-needed creative point of view to an industry dominated by white.
  • Pup Stars: Located in West Loop (2337 W Lake St), PupStars is a one-stop-shop for pet owners, offering daycare, boarding, dog walking, grooming and training services. Its mission is to provide optimal personal care for all pets by providing them with a safe, clean and nurturing environment.
  • Eb and flow: Co-owned by a mother-daughter duo, Eb and Flow offers a variety of yoga classes in the Wicker Park neighborhood (2125 W North Ave). The duo welcome people of all levels to the studio to experience the transformative power of yoga.
  • Cleo’s Southern Cuisine: Located in Bronzeville (4248 S Cottage Grove Ave), Cleo’s Southern Cuisine aims to bring fine Southern cuisine to Chicago’s historic South Side neighborhood. Cleo’s pays tribute to chef Kristen Ashley’s grandmother whose memory lives on through her incredible recipes.

This season, the Bulls have added a new element to the initiative. Fans are encouraged to visit each featured business and scan a QR code on site to get a $10 BMO gift card as part of their visit. After visiting at least four of the businesses, fans will be entered to win an in-game VIP experience at a Bulls home game in April for them and three guests.

To learn more about each company and what the Bulls are doing off the field in the community, follow Bulls Community on Twitter and Instagram @bullscommunity.

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