Bulls celebrate and introduce the 2022-23 BMO Black Owned Business cohort

The Bulls and BMO tip off 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 focused on amplifying awareness of Black owned businesses across Chicago and uplifting Black entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in the community.

As part of the initiative, the Bulls highlight one business per month in-game, across social media and gameday television broadcasts throughout the season, detailing the story and inspiration behind each business in the words of its owner.

On October 5, the Bulls and BMO hosted a tip-off event at Just Don – a retail and community gathering space owned by the Bulls Creative Strategy and Design Advisor Don C. – to honor the 2021-22 cohort of Black owned businesses and to announce those selected for the 2022-23 season alongside Bulls players and representatives from both the Bulls and BMO.

The night started with remarks from Don C., Bulls Vice President of Community Engagement Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry and Head, BMO Wealth Management U.S. Darrel Hackett. Highlights of the event include two panel discussion – 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 team’s 2021-22 Black owned businesses, an assortment of beers from Funkytown Brewery and a raffle to win prizes from each 2022-23 featured business and an autographed jersey from Bulls players and Legends.

The initiative 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 dedication to uplifting Black owned businesses, nonprofits and Black civic leaders.

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

  • Next Man Up: Based in Bronzeville (946 E 43rd St), Next Man Up focuses on the health and wellness of men, offering them 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 began 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 offers a creative and much-needed point of view to a predominately white industry.
  • PupStars: 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 optimum personal care to all pets by providing a safe, clean and stimulating environment.
  • Eb 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 W North Ave). The duo welcomes individuals across all skill levels to the studio to experience the transformational power of yoga.
  • Cleo’s Southern Cuisine: Located in Bronzeville (4248 S Cottage Grove Ave), Cleo’s Southern Cuisine aims to bring elevated Southern cuisine to the historic neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. Cleo’s pays homage to Chef Kristen Ashley’s grandmother whose memory lives on through her amazing recipes.

This season, the Bulls added a new element to the initiative. Fans are encouraged to visit each featured business and scan a QR code while there 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 business and what the Bulls are doing off the court in the community, follow Bulls Community on Twitter and Instagram @bullscommunity.