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Vincent "Mr. Rick" Shell scoops ice cream for a drive-up order at Lil Ice Cream Dude's Cool World in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, June 27, 2020. The ice cream shop is owned by Beau Shell, a rising junior at Cedar Shoals High School. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

The Red & Black photo desk began a series in summer 2020 featuring Black entrepreneurs in Athens in response to reader questions about local Black-owned businesses.

Click on the headlines below to see more photos and read the full stories behind these businesses.


PHOTOS: Athens' Barnett Tae Kwon Do Academy awards new belts across the globe

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An athlete breaks a wooden board during rank promotion testing at Barnett Tae Kwon Do Academy in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. Curtis Barnett owns the gym, and his parents started it in 2005. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

As a Black student at the time, Curtis Barnett stood out from his classmates and started experiencing bullying at school. To gain confidence and learn to defend himself, his father got him involved in martial arts.

Now a father himself, Barnett took over the family gym in 2018, and 2020 brought unique challenges to the gym.


PHOTOS: Vernon Thornsberry, Athens artist and musician with a side of espresso

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Vernon Thornsberry stands outside of The Grit restaurant and plays one of his two squeeze boxes in Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (Photo/Sophie Yaeger syaeger@randb.com)

Vernon Thornsberry can be found on his moped delivering Jittery Joe’s coffee beans around Athens, baking cakes for The Grit, recording music in the Jittery Joe’s roasting room or staying up through the night to paint and play one of the twelve instruments he has taught himself.


PHOTOS: Greek letters, bling, and African wear at Bertram's Exclusives in Athens

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Owner Bertha Troutman-Rambeau poses for a portrait with her hand-painted jackets inside Bertram's Exclusives in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Troutman-Rambeau loves adding bling to her creations. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

Bertha Troutman-Rambeau opened the doors of Bertram’s Exclusives three years ago.

As an artist, mother and entrepreneur, Troutman-Rambeau said her store is her place of refuge, and she hopes it’s a place of peace for everyone who visits.

As a retired educator with degrees in early childhood administration, Troutman-Rambeau has never lost sight of her creative spirit. The store is routinely transformed into an art studio where she holds painting classes. These are now held virtually as the store has adapted to COVID-19 precautions.


PHOTOS: Eye Candy strives to bring confidence and empowerment to Athenians

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Eye Candy Lash & Brow Bar owner Aku Attipoe performs a lash extention on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. Attipoe has owned this shop in downtown Athens for one year and strives to be a one-stop-shop that clients can leave feeling empowered and confident. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

A little over four years ago, Athens native Aku Attipoe was working a corporate job as a single mom of two and making frequent drives to Atlanta to get her lashes done.

Tired of the constant trips back and forth, Attipoe "stepped out on faith and started researching trainers in the industry." She decided to get her esthetician's license from Athens Technical College, and one year ago, she opened Eye Candy Lash & Brow Bar in downtown Athens.

Today, the building on the corner of North Hull and East Washington Streets is filled with eyelash themed decor, classy furniture and aesthetic lights.


PHOTOS: East Athens Educational Dance Center reopens with COVID-19 precautions

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The East Athens Educational Dance Center reopens to hold dance classes three days a week for its accelerated students. Due to COVID-19, dancers are encouraged to wear masks and are not permitted to keep their belongings inside the locker rooms to avoid congregating too closely. Ronnie Anderson, program specialist, instructs a Fusion class, a cross between African modern dance and ballet. The class has two levels of dancers with ages ranging from 7 years old to 21 years old. (Photo/Caroline Head)

The East Athens Educational Dance Center was founded by Lois Ewings in 2005 after receiving a SPLOST grant to construct the building.

“The community rallied to support black kids in this area, to give them a positive and constructive outlet,” Gilreath said.

Typically, the dance center offers classes in ballet, point work, tap, jazz, African, and hip-hop dancing along with African drumming and a stretch class for adults in the fall.


PHOTOS: Mannaweenta serves African dishes on Athens' East Side

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Haregu Bahtu fills a takeout order on Thursday, July 2, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. Mannaweenta, named after owner Haregu Bahtu's daughter and sister, opened in 2015. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

The Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant has received various awards since opening its doors in 2015. Mannaweenta is named after owner Haregu Bahtu's daughter and sister. 


PHOTOS: Lil Ice Cream Dude's Cool World serves up curbside and takeout

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Vincent "Mr. Rick" Shell scoops ice cream for a drive-up order at Lil Ice Cream Dude's Cool World in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, June 27, 2020. The ice cream shop is owned by Beau Shell, a rising junior at Cedar Shoals High School. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

Lil Ice Cream Dude's Cool World ice cream shop continues to serve its customers with curbside pickup, an outdoor patio and delivery through services like Cosmic. The shop, owned by Cedar Shoal High School student Beau Shell, opened one year ago. 

While Shell's ice cream shop serves a variety of treats including waffle cones, sundaes, Italian ice and shakes, their signature item is their ice cream sandwich.


PHOTOS: Flanigan's Portrait Studio creates community and captures history in Athens

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Three murals adorn walls near Flanigan’s Portrait Studio in Athens, Georgia on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. The studio is owned by Athens native, painter and community activist, Broderick Flanigan. His studio is located in the “Triangle Plaza” neighborhood of Athens. Flanigan uses the studio to paint and host meetings and art shows for himself and others. (Photo/Caroline Head)

In Athens' Triangle Plaza neighborhood, community activist and artist Broderick Flanigan's studio stands filled with art both inside and out.

In addition to being a business owner and Athens native, Flanigan is involved in several community organizations and has placed an emphasis on documenting Black history through art.