Stronger Houston: Third Ward business owners create program to help minority small business owners

Sponsoring a business to help give it a jump start

HOUSTON – Hidden in the heart of Third Ward is a spot unlike any other.

There’s music, drinks even chess. It all creates a certain vibe, and it’s called -- “The Spot.”

“It just took right off,” said co-owner of The Spot, Aaron Gray.

Aaron and his wife Adfanie are the owners of the dive bar.

“What made it so smooth is we were very successful right away,” Aaron said.

Almost two decades ago when the former engineer approached his accountant wife about the concept, he said she had her concerns but they did it anyway.

“We weathered the storm,” Adfanie said.

Now, it’s bigger than a bar.

“This is just the beginning for us,” Adfanie said.

In November, the couple opened a new shopping center in EaDo.

“It feels great because a couple of years ago this was just a piece of dirt and she had the vision to visualize this whole concept,” Aaron said.

Included in the shopping center is a way to give back to the community.

“We wanted to take our resources and see what we can do to plant some seeds in the community and watch other businesses grow,” Adfanie said.

In October, they launched the Community Business Investment Program, providing one Third Ward small business owner with a partnership valued at $50,000 and their own storefront.

“Yeah, it’s a big deal. As I said, I was very nervous, but sometimes you got to leap,” Bryce “Red” Redhead said.

Red won the Gray’s competition. He’s the owner of Red’s Juice Joint, currently located inside The Body Shop gym in Third Ward.

“Did you ever think you’d be in this position four or five years ago,” KPRC 2′s Sabirah Rayford asked.

“No,” he laughed. “It was honestly a leap that I had no choice but to make. Last year, during the pandemic, I ended up getting laid off because of COVID.”

Red will soon be the owner of two Juice joints, and the Gray’s are serving up opportunities for generational wealth.

“The more of us that are well off, the more impact we can have as a whole,” Aaron said.

The Spot Lounge and Bar EaDo are both open for business. The Gray’s say next is a brunch restaurant.

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