BLACK HISTORY MONTH: ULTRINA HARRIS

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As part of our celebration of Black History Month, we seek to elevate the stories of Black entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders whose work is a testament to the resilience, passion, and impact of the Black community in Miami. 

We would like to introduce you to Ultrina Harris, owner of Suite 110 Urbanwear, an apparel and footwear store located in Historic Overtown. This year, The Miami Foundation had the privilege of giving Ultrina an Open for Business technology grant, as well as a low-interest ABLE loan to buy inventory so that Suite 110 Urbanwear could broaden its range of product offerings. 

Through our Open for Business program, The Miami Foundation provides much-needed funding support for minority-led organizations like Ultrina’s to purchase technology and equipment assets that enable them to grow and thrive. In two years, we have had the honor of awarding nearly $900,000 to 65 nonprofits and $1.5 million to 166 businesses. 

After delivering this funding support, we were excited to sit down with Ultrina to learn more about how Suite 110 Urbanwear is doing and about the impact of the Open For Business funding that the business received. 

Brenda Morrison, Open for Business associate: In what ways has your business/nonprofit contributed to the cultural and economic vibrancy of the local Black community in Miami?  

Ultrina Harris: Suite 110 Overtown has successfully established a strong brand identity through our signature logo – “Historic Overtown 1896 Colored Town,” which is visible on all our merchandise. This branding strategy has remarkably heightened the cultural consciousness surrounding Overtown’s multifaceted heritage, history, and ongoing development trajectory.  By nurturing a sense of respect, belonging, and awareness through strategic branding, Suite 110 Urbanwear serves as more than just a retail outlet. For the past seven years, it has been an unrivaled urban wear hub, supporting Overtown’s vibrant cultural fabric and contemporary street fashion culture. As the sole prominent urban wear store in Overtown, Suite 110 Urbanwear truly personifies the community’s vitality and resilience.  

Brenda Morrison, Open for Business associate: As a grantee of Miami Open For Business, how has the support impacted your business’ growth and ability to serve the community?  

Ultrina Harris: I’m sincerely grateful to Miami Open For Business for their generous grant that has enabled me to broaden my business’ range of offerings, including customizable apparel and unique merchandise. This financial support was instrumental in procuring a Direct-to-Transfer machine, significantly enhancing my production capabilities with the creation of high-quality transfer sheets.

Additionally, this funding has done more than just improve my business; it has significantly impacted the larger Overtown community. Through the cultural narratives infused in our wearable products, we are not only promoting storytelling and celebrating Black culture; we are crafting invaluable connections to the rich history of Overtown.  

Brenda Morrison, Open for Business associate: As we celebrate Black History Month, what message or advice do you have for aspiring Black entrepreneurs in Miami?

Ultrina Harris: As a black female entrepreneur, I’ve traversed numerous obstacles from the inception to the day-to-day operations of a business in a predominantly black community. The perennial challenges of inadequate funding, and limited access to capital, can impose barriers to maintaining a successful enterprise in a community that has withstood its share of turmoil. Moreover, it’s crucial to remember that our strength lies in our unity and cooperation. As business owners, we must rally together, especially in difficult times, sharing our competencies, resources, and experiences. While we navigate these challenges, let’s focus on the potential of creating generational wealth through perseverance, resilience, and a relentless dedication to lifelong learning. We are not just building businesses, we’re shaping communities, nurturing dreams, and inspiring the next generation. Let’s stand together to turn these challenges into our collective chapters of success. 

With the support of Miami Open For Business funding, Ultrina’s vision to broaden her product line is being realized and paving the way for greater economic empowerment and opportunity within Overtown and beyond. Stories like Ultrina’s are why the Miami Foundation is committed to small business success and asset ownership so that the entrepreneurs who made Miami a vibrant cultural destination can continue to thrive in the city they helped create. 

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