Black-owned business Michele's Syrups sees sales boom after Aunt Jemima controversy

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (WLS) -- Michele Hoskins has been making syrup in suburban South Holland for decades, but has recently seen a boom in business.

RELATED: ABC7 Eyewitness News spotlights Black-owned businesses with live, week-long series

Hoskins said her small business had always been in the shadow of one of the largest brands in the syrup category, Aunt Jemima.

"When she decided to leave, for some reason eyes turned on us," Hoskins said. "We got a chance to shine, and here we are."

Hoskins started her business in her mother's basement in 1984 with a recipe that had been in her family for generations.

Her great-great-great grandmother created the signature syrup recipe for a family she cooked for in the late 1860s.

"When I got it, I decided, why don't I pass my daughter a business instead of a recipe?" she said.

While business is booming now, Hoskins said capital and consumer awareness are some of the biggest challenges she faced as a Black business owner.

But her perseverance paid off. Michele's Syrups in butter pecan, maple creme and honey creme are now available on Amazon and in grocery stores across the Chicago area.

You can learn more about Michele's Syrups on MicheleFoods.com.

ABC7 Chicago continues to put a spotlight on "Black Owned," local businesses that were started and maintained by men and women of color.

Tune in to ABC at 11 a.m. the week of July 13-17 as Terrell Brown leads daily discussions with Black business owners in our community.
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