MEMPHIS, Tenn. — To honor the rich tradition of Black History Month, FOX13 is pausing to recognize and highlight the faces and contributions of black men and women in the communities many of them serve.
Cheryl Pesce, the owner of the Memphis Lifestyle stores, stands as a model of what it means to be a successful Black business owner. Pesce’s stores were opened in Memphis more than a decade ago.
Pesce’s newest store, which opened in November, is located at the Laurelwood Shopping Center.
By opening the store at Laurelwood, Pesce became the first Black person to run a business at the location in its decades of history.
“The items in the store are not like what anyone else has,” Pesce said.
The store features a mix of handmade jewelry, local creations, and a decorative touch, crafted of roots stemming from Pesce’s modest southwest Arkansas upbringing that eventually gave way to careers in teaching and medical equipment sales.
Pesce said her early lessons in business coming from her father.
“In some way, shape, form, or fashion, I’ve always seen myself as an entrepreneur,” she said.
Pesce said she plans to help other Black business owners, like those who may be just starting out, grow, as well.
Mentoring other Black business owners while connecting them with those looking for partnership, adding to what she hopes becomes a growing tradition of successful black run businesses in Memphis.
“I’ll be the first, again, but I won’t be the last,” Pesce said, adding that she wanted to take a “leadership role.”
“I understand Memphis, I know the city … I know the businesses; I can find them; I can help you.”