Engaging the Community Through Business
Rising from the ashes and harnessing the spirit and assets of the neighborhood .
While not located geographically in the old or new Bronzeville neighborhoods, the Sherman Phoenix mirrors the energy of the Bronzeville business district equally. The collective of businesses at 3536 N. Fond Du Lac Ave in Milwaukee came into existence after a community was rocked by violence following a fatal police shooting that claimed the life of an unarmed African American man. The community expressed a need for safe, welcoming spaces for people in the Sherman Park neighborhood, and out of this, an entrepreneurial hub was born. The Sherman Phoenix functioned through three objectives: transforming a vacant property, supporting locally owned businesses, and building wealth in the community.
With a mission to improve small business success and provide economic empowerment to the community, the Sherman Phoenix transformed a fire-damaged BMO Harris Bank building located at the eastern gateway to the Sherman Park neighborhood into high-quality space for small businesses-of-color. The structure houses 27 small businesses that provide a variety of food, wellness services, and cultural activities. Shindig Coffee owners Maanaan and Joanne Sabir were a driving force behind the development of the facility. Prior to its opening, they discussed the meaning behind developing the collective, and the complexities of acquiring funding to make a successful launch. See them discuss this with Andrea Williams on Our Issues Milwaukee by clicking this link.
A colorful mural created by Detroit artist Sydney James greets visitors of the Sherman Phoenix, setting an aesthetic for art appreciation. Housing the popular Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Owner Trueman McGee describes his journey to join the collaborative here in a TMJ4 interview. With a successful launch in 2019, the Sherman Phoenix has become a hub not only for the Sherman Park neighborhood, but for the entire Milwaukee community.