Carletta's Sweet Things

Carletta's Sweet Things, wholesaler of Cedar Rapids, offers a selection of delectable delights from gourmet banana breads and muffins to a variety of pies. Our breads, muffins, and pies are all made from scratch and to ensure freshness, our baked goods are made to order. So if you’re looking for wholesome and healthy preservative free baked goods, make the order today and we'll deliver. With Carletta's Sweet Things, you can taste the difference!  Owned and operated by Carletta Knox Seymor.  Learn More About Carletta's Sweet Things

Gazette Carriers
Harold Thompson

Art Taylor Gazette Carrier 1927

John Madlock

Louis Alnutt

Ray Washington

Walt and JoAnn Murray
Murray's Barber Shop and Beauty Salon
Soul City Record Shop
                  1013 9th Avenue S. E.                                                               319-366-1258

Ascott Transcription Services
Pearl Scott-Gill and Bernard Gill own Ascott Transcription Service (ATS) which is located on Center Point Road NE, Cedar Rapids Iowa.  They have run this business since 1988 here in Cedar Rapids.  The bulk of their business is medical transcription which involves placing a patient's medical records in a format that can be quickly and easily understood when transferred between authorized personnel such as doctors hospitals and clinics.  They currently have a staff of 40 people.

Al and Irene's Bar-B-Q House
2020 N. Towne Ln NE

Honey Bear's BBQ

Childhood friends and business partners Mark
Smith and Gary Clark grew up together in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   They went to Scottsdale Community College in 1980 to play football and to get their degrees in business..  Catering college affairs to cover their expenses, their barbecues gained immense popularity.   Brought to a turning point in their lives, the partners bought a van and a portable barbecue pit and started an on-site catering business all over the Phoenix area
In 1986 at the age of 24, they opened their first Honey Bear's restaurant on East Van Buren Street.  It immediately received the new Times Best of Phoenix Award, a distinction it has been awarded every year since.  By this time they had opened their second restaurant and six years later they opened their third.  After 23 years they have perfected not only their sauce but their Honey Bears BBQ has beccome one of the most talked about resturant in Arizona. (April 2012)
Their sauce can be found and purchased in the Cedar Rapids
HyVee Store - First Ave. N. E.      


Jimmy's  Barbeque

Bertha Harris

                                    (319) 396-5981

2001 Bertha Harris worked at the African American Historical  Museum and Cultural Center's Gift Shop as manager/buyer.    Bertha was also the owner operator along with her sons, of the Harris Chauffeur-Limousine Service.  Her hometown was Vanduser Missouri and she attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City Missouri; received an associates degree from Parkland College in Campaign Illinois and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids Iowa.  She has one daughter, Yolanda Harris-Dunlap and two sons, Curtis and Maurice Harris, all of Cedar Rapids Iowa; she has six grandchildren.  Bertha's interests are travel, music, specifically gospel and jazz; and playing games with the family.

Hang Perfect
Caroline and Hank Davis
Hang Perfect, owned and operated by Caroline and Hank Davis, was a hobby that became a business.  They made and produced warmups that were sold to the country's professional and collegiate athletic personnel which were customized for their sport and leisure wear.  The business was incorporated in February of 1983.  George Raveling, a former Iowa Basketball coach at the University of Iowa, built a walk-in closet in his basement to house 24 of these warm-up suits.  Former Governor Robert D Ray and his wife, Billie, were avid customers who regularly checked in with Hank to update their wardrobe.  The name was formerly Hanky Panky but was changed when it was found out that some people felt the old name was a connotation for something shady.  A full suit of Hang Perfect warmups ranged in price from $90 to $150 depending on what customizing was desired.  These prices were competitive with Nike and Adidas products.  George Raveling called the warmups "the Calvin Klein's of the athletic leisure wear..."; C Vivian Stringer, U of I's former women's basketball coach said, "Hang Perfect warmups are just that....perfect."

Fourth Avenue Delicatessen - 1926

Fourth Avenue Delicatessen

Vesta and Elmer Smith Sr,  standing in the right background,  0wned and operated the Fourth Avenue Delicatessen in the mid 1920's.  The delicatessen was located just east of the present YWCA building.  The woman standing near the stove, Julia Reed,, was a waitress.  Blacks operated restaurants in the city even before the turn of the century

Sepia Motel 

Cecil  Reed


 Culture Plus Speciality House

Mary Evans, owned and operated Culture Plus Speciality House in 1986  which was located at 711 Third Avenue SE.  Some of the items Mary carried were greeting card lines that had Black families or Black individuals on the front.  There was also a music section which was not initially in the plan, but grew out from requests for gospel artists, rap singers and others who didn't crossover into the mainstream of music.  One of their specialities was old music by lesser known labels.  Mary came here from Chicago Illinois with her husband, Nelson II; a son, Nelson III; and two daughters, Gladys and Alice.  She attended the City Colleges of Chicago (now known as Kennedy-King College); received her bachelor's degree from Mount Mercy College (now Mount Mercy University); master's degree from the University of Iowa; and her cosmetology license from Paris Academy of Beauty.  Her interests were plants and going to school.

Milton Turner Sr

Jewell Ferguson

Turner's Barbecue Restaurant

Milton Turner Sr, once owner in 1991 of Turner's Barbecue restaurant, has been cooking since he was 15 years of age.  Turner stated he learned to cook from his mother and grandmother.  He passed this down to his three sons who each have cooked for several years.  Milton stated "the best soul food is that which comes from the gardens.  You can't just buy it at the store, you have to raise it from seeds.  That way there are no preservatives or salt added."


Julie Mitchell Navigates Her Own Course
After working in the travel business in Minneapolis, Julie Mitchell decided that her home town of Cedar Rapids was really where she wanted to live and work.  Julie discovered
that there were not a lot of job opportunities
in the travel business so she established her own travel business, Rainbow Travel.  She hopes to be able to hire a parttime employee soon to help with the giganic workload..   She admits the most enjoyable thing about the job is being able to accompany tourist groups on their travels or go on cruises as a tourist herself to learn about what is available.
June 1988

She runs a Jewell of consignment shop

Just Jewell's is for "big beautiful women " who wear at least a size 16. 
The shop located at 1050 Mt Vernon Road was the fulfillment of one of Jewell's lifetime wishes. says  Jewell Ferguson who retired after 38 years at Rockwell International Corp, where she was an inspector.   As a woman who fits into the over 16 size range herself Jewell felt there was a need for such a consignment shop. "Large sizes are always hard to find.   There are many woren who want newer styles but cannot afford to buy new clothing.  Clothing is not all Jewell carries in her store.  In addition to dresses, blouses,, and coats there are purses, foundation garments, lingerie, shoes, scarves, cologne makeup and hosiery.  -Gazette 1989

Murry's Trendsetter Fashions
1989 Murry and Connie Hillsman were co-owners of Murry's Trendsetter Fashions, which was located at 1500 First Avenue N E..  Murry was an OTR truck driver for over 20 years while Connie was a Personnel Coordinator for Cargill Inc.  Their in- home business became large enough for them to open a store at Fifth Avenue and Sixth Street SE. and then expand to 1st     Ave. N E.   Both are now retired.  They each have five children from previous marriages, totaling nine daughters, one son and a 2011 updated total of 33 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Paulette's House of Beauty
For 26 years Paulette Clark has owned and operated Paulette's House of Beauty at the corner of Ninth Street and 12th Ave. S. E.  For her longtime customers who are in poor health , Paulette goes to nursing homes and their private homes to do their hair.  Before becoming a beautician, Paulette married James Clark and worked for Collins Radio (now Rockwell Collins) for 10 years.  Her husband convinced her to go to school to do what she had been wanting to do since graduating from Washington High School in 1959.  Since retiring, she does the hair of those who have departed for over 10 years at Brosh Chapel.  She goes into other funeral homes at the request of any late client's families.  Her family consists of her husband, James; son, Gary of Phoenix; daughter Cheryl; and three grandchildren.

Essence of Stephanie

Stephanie Tillman, was owner and sole hairstylist at Essence of Stephanie.  Stephanie was one of several Black salon owners in Cedar Rapids.  She was located off First Avenue in the 100 block of 15th Street NE.  Most of Tillman's customers were professionals and transplants to Cedar Rapids.  Most of Tillman's clientele were Black women, but she would cut a lot of white males who liked the way she did clipper cuts.  Stephanie became a professional cosmetologist at Capri Cosmetology College in Cedar Rapids; she also holds a degree in journalism from Howard University in Washington DC.  This was at her father's insistence.  Stephanie wanted to open a multicultural salon as the cosmetology schools don't train for minority hair properly; she notes that the key is chemistry:  how specific types of hair react to various treatments.  "Most upscale salons in Cedar Rapids are petrified to work with a black clientele."  "Part of the challenge is working with what a person has."

Camilla's Styling Studio

Camilla Milan worked as a stylist at Paulette's House of Beauty for 15 years and also had her own studio:  Camilla's Styling Studio at 1044 Mt. Vernon Road S E.   This picture shows three-year old Jarvis Milam getting his hair cut by his grandmother , Camillia, while his mother Virginia Milam holds him still.       Dec 1996

Freda's  Beauty Rama
and Bob's Barbershop
827-9th Street S. E.                                  Bob's Pic
Expert Hair Cutting
and Hair Styling            
Freda Carole Blakey - born December 16, 1933 in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Freda initially wanted to be a nurse, but as one of the younger children, her parents could not afford to send her to nursing school so she decided to study to be a beautician. She wanted to go to Paris Academy in downtown Cedar Rapids, but they would not accept blacks, so she worked at Armstrong's Department store to save money in order to register at Crescent Beauty School in Des Moines Iowa. (Capri later took over Paris Academy) It cost $150.00 for the entire course and she needed 1800 hours in order to graduate. Freda paid $4.00 a month to stay at the school dormitory. While in school at Crescent, Freda would do Little Richard's hair when he came to Des Moines for concerts. She graduated in 1955 and took her first job with Thelma Price in her shop which was located in the 800 block of 8th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Freda met Robert "Bob" Long who was a barber and worked with Walt Murray in Murray's. Freda and Bob married and they raised three children: Edwin Montgomery; Carole Long; and Theresa Long. Freda and Bob worked side by side for approximately 10 years and she worked for approximately 18 years on 8th Avenue SE. She eventually moved to her current location on 12th Avenue SE - Freda's Beauty Rama and Gift Shop. At the time Freda started working upon returning to Cedar Rapids in 1964, there were three licensed Black beauticians: Thelma Price, Lucille Farrington and herself.

at  LaShae Ultimate Touch

Doreen "Stormee" Stover, moved to Cedar Rapids from Pasadena California.  She graduated from Oakland High School and studied textiles at Oakland City College.  Stormee sewed her clothing under the 500 22nd Street label in size large as she feels more women fit that than size small.  Her mainstay for making a living was sold at LaShae Ultimate Touch, 1044 Mount Vernon Road SE.  At one time she was giving her coats away or selling them for $20-$40.  At a show in an art gallery, a professor from the University of San Francisco told her she was selling art, not coats.  He stated "you're not a seamstress, you're an artist."  She favors African and Asian fabrics of which some come from a company in New York City, some comes from friends who pick up cloth while traveling or she finds used clothing made from still-lush material that can be recycled into one of her jackets.  "I like the idea of America being a melting pot.  I like the idea of being an African American because that way I can just include everything."


Stylze Clothing

Armond Dawson and Craig Sell were the owners of Stylze Clothing which was located at 209 Second Street SE.  This store had baggy, bulky urban street attire as well as athletic apparel.  They felt their line of clothing appealed to more than school-age clientele.  Stylze carried such lines as Phat Farm, Roca Wear, and Brooklyn Express.  Armond and Craig believe Cedar Rapids already has diversity but lacks the consumer choices that a culturally diverse market deserves.  These two young men felt the downtown market was better suited for their urban setting than the suburban mall because it is centrally located for a large customer base.

Edgar Haynes is the owner of We Deliver a pickup and delivery business.  His business charges $10 for a basic pickup and delivery from convenience stores or small shops within a 15 mile range, and $15 for more complex errands such as grocery shopping.  Edgar graduated from Washington High School where he was a standout wrestler and opened up his business for less than $10,000.  He contracts with independent drivers to handle the deliveries he cannot handle himself with his own vehicles.  Edgar finished William Penn University with a degree in Communication.  He completed an entrepreneurship certificate from Kirkwood Community College and asked lots of questions on how to run a business.  He is working with entrepreneurs Dounte Harris of Harris Insurance Agency and Jeremy Hepker of Cutting Edge Painting to set up a neighborhood business resource center across from Polk Elementary School at 1500 B Avenue NE.  They want the center to offer residents the opportunity to network for business opportunities and learn more about entrepreneurship.  It would also offer some limited business services such as photocopying and showcase neighborhood businesses.  For Edgar's business his slogan is:  Don't waste your time.  Employ Ours!" 2009