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

The Bulls and BMO kick off the 2022-23 regular season and the third year of the BMO Black Owned Business program at Just Don at Fulton Market.

The Bulls teamed up with BMO to launch the third season of the BMO Black Owned Business campaign – a campaign focused on raising awareness of Black-owned businesses in Chicago and promoting Black entrepreneurs who have a positive impact on their communities.

As part of the program, the Bulls each month highlight a business on social media and gameday TV broadcasts throughout the season, detailing the stories and inspiration behind each business in the words of its owner.

On October 5th, the Bulls and BMO hosted a whistleblower event at Just Don, a retail and community gathering space owned by Don C., Bulls creative strategy and design consultant, to honor the 2021-22 Black-owned business cohort and collaborate with The Bulls players, along with representatives from the Bulls and BMO, announced their selection for the 2022-23 season.

The evening began with remarks from Bulls VP of Community Engagement Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry and BMO Wealth Management U.S. President Darrel Hackett. Highlights of the event included two panel discussions – one featuring this season’s featured business owners led by Bulls Director of Community Relations Erica Ball, and another with Bulls players Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Javon Teglin, Derek Jones Jr. and Dalen Terry led by Don C.

Guests enjoyed food from Virtue Restaurant and Bar – one of the team’s 2021-22 Black-owned businesses, a selection of beers from Funkytown Brewery, and a raffle to win prizes at each 2022-23 featured business and the Bulls Autographed jerseys of players and legends.

Launched in 2020, the initiative is an extension of the Bulls’ commitment to community investment, one of the four pillars of its community violence prevention strategy and working to elevate Black-owned businesses, nonprofits and Black civic leaders.

The Bulls’ 2022-23 BMO Black-Owned Business Cohort includes –

  • next man: Headquartered in Bronzeville (946 E 43rd St), Next Man Up focuses on men’s health and wellness, providing them with the ultimate spa experience and a destination for relaxation. Services include haircuts, massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and more.
  • Funkytown Brewery: The owners of Funkytown Brewery started their business to add a black brewer’s perspective to the beer industry. Located in Logan Square (2140 N Milwaukee Ave), Funkytown was founded in 2017 by three friends. Through premium beers, creative brands and fresh perspectives, Funkytown offers a creative and much-needed perspective on a predominantly white industry.
  • Puppy star: Located in the West Loop (2337 Westlake Street), PupStars is the pet owner’s one-stop shop for daycare, boarding, dog walking, grooming and training. Its mission is to provide the best personal care for all pets by providing a safe, clean and stimulating environment.
  • The ebb and flow: Co-owned by a mother and daughter duo, Eb and Flow offers a variety of yoga classes in the Wicker Park neighborhood (2125 North Street). The pair welcome people of all skill 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 haute Southern cuisine to the historic district on Chicago’s south side. Cleo’s pays tribute to chef Kristen Ashley’s grandmother, whose memory lives on through her amazing recipes.

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

To learn more about each business and the Bulls’ off-field activities in the community, follow the Bulls Community on Twitter and Instagram @bullscommunity.

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