May 18, 2023

Local hat shop getting ESPN shout out during NBA Finals

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PHOENIX — One of the gems of Phoenix's local businesses is going national with a major shout-out from ESPN. The downtown black-owned hat shop 'Straw and Wool' will be featured on ESPN's award-winning Champion Black Businesses (CBB) initiative ahead of the 2023 NBA Finals.

Straw and Wool has been turning (and decorating) heads since February 2020 when M Ali Nervis and Henry Dickerson first kicked off their business on Roosevelt Row.

Since then they've been bringing style and pride to the Valley with a huge selection of classic hats for "hat lovers and hat newbies alike."

Now, their work is paying off in a big way.

During the NBA Finals broadcast, ESPN will roll out four short films highlighting the success stories of four black-owned businesses across the nation. Straw and Wool will be featured alongside NiLu Gift Store from New York, Oldvine Florals from Los Angeles, and Rock City Pizza from Boston.

During the NBA Finals, fans can use #ChampionBlackBusinesses to shout out their favorite black-owned businesses to help put the spotlight on their efforts and triumphs.

"Black businesses are the heart of local communities across this country and we’re committed to leveraging the power of our sports media platform to drive positive impact in those communities," ESPN Vice President of Sports Marketing Emeka Ofodile said. "Seeing the impact this program has made in the past three years fuels us to do more, and we can't wait to get to work with our 2023 businesses."

Black businesses account for just 1% of all businesses in Phoenix, according to a report by the State of Black Arizona and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. But the potential is there to grow to more than 4,945 black-owned businesses and create over 15,133 new jobs in the metro.

RELATED: African American-owned businesses growing in the Valley with community support

And with the country's eyes on stores like Straw and Wool, the future of black-owned businesses in the Valley is looking bright.

>>Editor's Note: Straw and Wool has not responded to a request for comment at this article's time of publication.

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RELATED: African American-owned businesses growing in the Valley with community support