Black business owners have long been a force in Springfield. From William De Fleurville, a Haitian immigrant who moved to Springfield in the 1830s and was a business owner and barber for Abraham Lincoln, to the modern-day owners of businesses like Clay's BBQ and Boyd's New Generation on Springfield's east side, the legacy of area Black businesses is strong. Too often, however, these businesses do not get the attention that they deserve.
Tiara Standage is a Black business owner working to strengthen the voice of Black entrepreneurs in the capital city. She is the owner of Everything Intricate at 1107 South Grand Ave. The name of this vision-brought-to-fruition comes from Standage's multifaceted nature and ability to make anything she touches a work of art. Standage is creating spaces for Black creatives in a city where their needs, and talents, are often disregarded.
Along with Everything Intricate, Standage also operates Intricate Designz and Intricate Intentions. Standage started her business five years ago, specializing in party décor, when a friend mentioned her decorative talents. Intricate Intentions specializes in wellness products from sage bundles to herbal remedies.
Standage also hosts Intricate Flow Fridays, a showcase that welcomes Black artists to hone their crafts in a supportive environment. One such event this past spring had a reggae theme and was located at HISO Music Studio, 1401 S. Fifth St. The effort was well received. The events have been in full swing every second and fourth Friday of the month at Everything Intricate, with masks being recommended. Musical and spoken word artists who have taken part include ZuhCari, Katae, Matti Shae, Terrell Burns, Lazarus, Taylor Moni, Reggie Rashad, Bri Brijae, Tiara Michelle and many others.
"I wanted to hear live music and poetry. But I also wanted to create a platform that people could perform, dance and enjoy themselves at, regardless of gender identity or sexuality," said Standage. While Intricate Flow was specifically created so that Black people of various backgrounds could find comfort, peace and joviality that might otherwise be hard for them to find in Springfield, "Everyone is welcome," said Standage.
Many Black businesses are staples within the area, deserving of more attention and patronage. That's why Standage also created Intricate Entrepreneurs – pop-up shops where Black entrepreneurs can sell their wares, from baked goods to clothing. Standage hosted one over the summer at a local hotel where 16 vendors sold their goods. It is another avenue under the Intricate entity. Vendors included The Homemade Healing Co., Da Baker Man, Bold Art, Zodiac Customs, Anna's Sweets and Treats and The African Hut. "People come out and get to support these businesses and those who are participating are proud to be a part of something and it's a very beautiful thing to see," Standage said about the pop-up shops.
One of the main ways to advocate local businesses and organizations is to buy from them, and to donate when and where we can to ensure their longevity. Her aspiration is that these events will continue to be loving safe-spaces well into the future, and that those within our community will remain steadfast in their benefaction and care.
June Chappelle of Springfield recently worked as a historical research specialist at the Illinois State Museum, focusing on the African diaspora. He tries to give time to the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, a place that helped launch his career. For the past year Chappelle has been doing freelance journalism for Illinois Times. He writes: "It's great to be able to not only write out my thoughts, but to bring awareness to our community about those who are the most vulnerable and overlooked."