After leaving my house, I was driving north on Austin Boulevard. I had just passed Columbus Park and was almost at the light at Madison when I just happened to glance to my right and I could not believe my eyes.
I was somewhat confused, so I made a right on Madison Street. I parked my car and walked down Austin and stopped and looked in the window. I then stepped back and looked up at the newly-hung awning that read “Annie Bell Fragrances.” I decided to pull on the door and a young lady smiled and walked over and opened the door. “Welcome to Annie Bell. How can I help you?” she asked. What? Where am I? This place was gorgeous and it smelled wonderful.
I was so excited to see this new black-owned and operated business opening in our community. I could tell that there was a lot of thought put into the décor. There were white marble floors, flowers, and white sheers draped in the windows. It felt like something or someplace that you would find on Rodeo Drive or the Gold Coast.
The lady and I began to talk and she explained to me that she was the owner.
Ms. Fallon Johnson was born and raised in the Chicago Englewood community and then moved out to the western suburbs. When she decided to open her business she began to look on the internet for a storefront location in the Chicago area. Just by chance she was driving to the Northwest side to deliver her handmade candles when she happened to see her current location for rent.
After a little more research and viewing the location, Ms. Johnson told me that she believed that it was just God’s will for her to open her business at the 3 North Austin location.
I am glad that she decided to follow God’s will for her because it is a win for our community to have Annie Bell Fragrances in Austin. It is good to see something other than the normal fast-food joint where people come out with grease dripping from their bag, or a so-called convenient store selling “flaming-hot” everything to our kids.
This is the kind of business that we need to support and make sure it does well. So, why don’t you join me for a B.E.E.R. (Black Economic Empowerment Rally) this Saturday Oct. 4 at her place. Let’s all meet at Annie Bell Fragrances at 1 p.m. as we welcome her to our community. I believe that headlines of every paper should read “Community comes together to support a black-owned business and buys everything off the shelves.”
Executive Director of Austin African American Business Networking Association