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Brown County home to a myriad of Black-owned businesses

By Josh Staloch
Staff Writer

BROWN COUNTY – Black History Month is a time when the country celebrates the achievements of African Americans, and recognizes their contributions to society and culture – both personally and professionally.

Brown County is home to several Black-owned businesses thriving as they each carve out their own niche in the Greater Green Bay economic ecosystem.

Black History Month is an opportune time to highlight the countless contributions these businesses offer the community we all call home.

Lil Jamaica 

Nemard Wilson said life bought him a ticket to Green Bay. 

Born and raised in Jamaica, his journey to business-ownership began as a 27-year old when he left his homeland to follow a love interest to Washington DC.

Wilson said life had different plans for him and things didn’t work out in the nation’s capitol. 

This turn of events worked out well for Green Bay as Wilson landed here four-and-a-half years ago and opened Lil Jamaica on Broadway.

“The temperature may be, like zero degrees most of the time, but the people of Green Bay are warm and welcoming,” he said, pointing out a signed Green Bay Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith jersey. “So I stayed. Here in Green Bay, culture is a thing. If you look at the Packers, that’s a culture, something that citizens, they live for the Packers. Jamaica is similar. It’s full of culture and the people there live for it. I think we have some of that atmosphere here.”

Wilson owns and operates Lil Jamaica with his significant other, Janel Johnson, who is in charge of most everything happening at the restaurant, minus the food. 

From the music to the cozy, colorful decor, Johnson plays a big role in making Lil Jamaica feel more like an experience, than just another trip out to eat. 

The menu is as authentic as it gets, from jerk chicken with red beans and rice to oxtails and cole slaw, along with Jamaican soda or aloe water.

The couple also run a food truck by the same name, and its schedule, as well as more information on the restaurant, can be found on Facebook.

My Brothers Keeper

Founded in 2003 by former Green Bay Packers running back Harry Sydney and his wife, Madonna, My Brother’s Keeper is a local nonprofit organization specializing in mentoring boys and men in the Green Bay area. 

“We started this from scratch,” Sydney said. “On the premise of helping boys and men get out of their own way.”


Sydney said My Brother’s Keeper’s approach isn’t about taking someone hunting or fishing, it’s about trying to help them change their thought process.


“We’ve realized over the years, it’s not a Black thing or a white thing,” Sydney said. “It’s a man thing. Our motto is ‘Straight talk. Sound direction.’” 

A long time ago, he said, a stranger got through to him with honesty, by telling him the truth about who he was.

Sydney said that’s what My Brother’s Keeper has always been about, somebody sitting down and having a truthful conversation about their life and their decisions.

Essence Quality Beauty Care


Sandria Poullard has only been open at her spot on Mather Street since last summer, but said Essence Quality Beauty Care is already finding success in downtown Green Bay.


“When I first got to Green Bay, and even now, there’s just not a lot of people who do things like braids, sew-ins and things like that,” Poullard said. “Even the straightening systems we use to manage the hair are unique to black women’s hair.”

She said business has picked up again following things settling down post-holidays. 

Poullard also said her daughter, Andria, who has been working alongside her at the shop, has launched her own line of beauty products, including items, like hair-growth oils and body butters. 

Her wares can be found at the salon.

BiBi African Palace

Shoppers can find a little bit of everything at BiBi African Palace on Military Avenue. 

From candy to hair extensions and makeup to African foods, BiBi’s list of stocked items is ever-changing and unique.

Originally from Nigeria, BiBi Lutter, the proprietor of the shop, said she’s been in business since 2015 and takes pride in offering specialized products to the community.

“You can see, just looking around, these are not things you would find in any store,” she said. “When you come inside, you never know what to expect. Like, someone came in earlier today and saw the fridge and said, ‘Bibi, you have food too?’ ‘Of course I do, it’s a store.’” 

Find out more at: bibi-african-hair-palace-beauty-salon.business.site

4th N Long

                                                                                                                                                                                    Submitted Photo

Green Bay’s Avery Rhenwrick is developing a brand and doing some good at the same time. 

A St. Norbert College graduate, Rhenwrick found himself wanting to help children who were unable to participate in organized sports due to a lack of funds. 

He said he was able to combine that passion for helping others with a love for sports and fashion.

From that notion, 4th N Long was created.

4th N Long sells t-shirts, sweaters and other athletic clothing and then donates 20% of its profits to help children from low-income families get involved in sports.

Rhenwrick said the solid start his business has enjoyed came partly due to a great experience he had as one of the local businesses involved in Blueprint Green Bay, a local business accelerator program geared toward helping minority, veteran and women-owned startups, powered by the Green Bay Chamber.

               Avery Rhenwrick

“It was an awesome opportunity,” Rhenwrick said. “I didn’t have a lot of business experience coming into it so it was great to be around other entrepreneurs, being able to express the ideas we have and see other people having the same kind of mindset.”

Find out more on 4th N Long’s Facebook page.

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