Top Picture: Store director Finley Matthews, left, and produce manager Malique Jackson, right, stock fruit and vegetables at Frenly Farms Market. Left Bottom Picture: Glam’More Boutique owner Keandra Hayes shows off several high-end clothing items. Right Bottom Picture: The Herbal Garden, located at 1219 SR 7, Lauderhill, Fla.



Special to South Florida Times

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Each year, the holiday season brings families and friends together from all over the nation to celebrate age-old traditions, experience good food and, of course, exchange gifts.

According to the National Retail Federation, a whopping 69 percent of Americans plan to shop during this Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

What’s even more mind boggling is that surveyed consumers say they expect to spend an average of $967 this holiday season – up 3.4 percent from this time last year.

Since moving to South Florida roughly two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some of my hard-earned cash at several thriving black-owned businesses. So during this holiday season, I want to take the time to share just a few places that can make your shopping trips a little easier and less stressful.

For many, the holidays aren’t as special without home-cooked meals. Located at 6330 W. Oakland Park Blvd. in Lauderhill, Fla., Frenly Farms Market is the perfect place to stock up on all of your must-need food items and special ingredients in order to make this year’s holiday meal one of the best of all time.

This grocery store is 100 percent black-owned and offers a full line of produce and meats brought in by local and international farmers. When you step through the front door, you instantly smell the aroma of fresh vegetables, organic fruits, fish, meats and blended seasonings that are ready to go from the store shelves right to your kitchen.

Finley Matthews, director of Frenly Farms Market, said that business is booming and management is currently installing a bakery, with plans to open a restaurant, deli and juice bar soon.

“We truly take pride in being South Florida’s largest black-owned grocery store and selling only the best quality of food and ingredients,” said Matthews. “The holidays typically get very busy for us, but we find inspiration each day knowing that our groceries are being consumed by families within our local community.”

If you’re looking for dietary and health-based products to keep your body in top-notch shape after the holidays, then I highly suggest stopping by The Herbal Gardens in Lauderhill, Fla.

Owned by Diane Galloway, The Herbal Gardens sells a variety of all-natural herbal teas, vitamins and supplements that promote wellness and nutrition. This black-owned business, located off of State Road 7 in Broward County, has been around for nearly 35 years and offers more than 25,000 in-store and online products that support joint, oral and vision health and helps treat things like allergies and common cold symptoms.

“Our staff has an extensive amount of knowledge and unique insights about the herbs, mixes and oils we sell on a daily basis to our customers,” said Jessel Mahon, Galloway’s son. “Not only are our products sold locally, but we also have international clients throughout the Caribbean, Europe and even as far away as Africa.”

Clothing items typically make the list of most-wanted gifts during the holidays. In Miami, right off of NW 119 Street, Glam’More Boutique is gearing up for some fantastic Black Friday deals on clothing items created by up-and-coming fashion designers from the South Florida area. The styles will have you looking like a runway model heading into the new year.

Store owner Keandra Hayes started Glam’More Boutique one year ago and has transformed her once trailer-based clothing shop into a unique, high-end brick and mortar where you’ll find trendy tops, dresses, jeans and accessories at a decent price without having to drain your bank account.

“After working for Miami-Dade County for several years, I decided to finally follow my dream and open up my very own business. It’s been quite a journey thus far and even more rewarding than I could have ever imagined,” said Hayes. “Most of my customers come from word of mouth and social media, and this year, I plan to have amazing sales for the holidays, as most of our clothing items will be up to 50 percent off, with additional items as low as $2.”

So before you head to Walmart or your nearest big-named retail chain, be sure to visit these three or any other black-owned businesses for your holiday shopping needs. Not only will your dollars be invested locally, but you’ll also bring some extra holiday joy into the lives of hard-working business owners.