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Small Business of the Month: Jerk Shack

“When you are able to actually sit at the table and there
is a seat for you, and you have a place to say something? That’s a game
changer.” said John Devine, Jerk Shack co-owner.

Owners Trey Lamont and John DEvine with their Small Business of the Month plaque
Owners Trey Lamont and John Devine holding their Small Business of the Month plaque in front of Jerk Shack. Photo by Hana Tadesse.

Jerk Shack is a one of a kind business, run by one of a
kind people. Trey Lamont and John Devine have created a warm atmosphere in
Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood transporting you to a tropical place, with
flavorful deep-fried jerk chicken, and black art decorating the vibrant colored
walls.

The owners met through a loan brokering program that Devine
runs while Lamont was a partner at the Inn Keeper, the restaurant the occupied
the building that is now where Jerk Shack stands. The two say that access to
capital was the most challenging part of obtaining shares from their earlier
partners of the building, who didn’t understand the mission of having a black
owned business, with the target of serving black people.

“I wanted to make sure that we had a place downtown where
black people of color felt comfortable and would come back. I feel proud at
that opportunity.” says Lamont.

“Having partners that understood the culture was the most
important – the experience is different if you don’t come from where we come
from, you would be reluctant too.” says Devine.

Jerk
Shack goes above and beyond their mission of having a black safe space in
Belltown, but also pride themselves in being able to support other black local
food businesses when they can like offering Boon Boona Coffee
and Metier Brewing.
Boon Boona is an Ethiopian coffee shop in downtown Renton, and Metier Brewing
is the only black owned brewery in Washington.

“We have become this place that is a gathering place for
community. Relationships are built here. All types of people roll through here.
It’s not this or that, you have to be accepting of all of it and all of it is
accepted here.” Says Trey Lamont.

Jerk Shack is the kind of business that we love to see in Seattle,
and we are proud to have them as our Small Business of the month January. Join
Jerk shack every Thursday for
Sounds of the Shack live music
, and be sure to follow them on Instagram and
check out their website to
keep up with events.

If
you’re interested in learning more about the Office of Economic
Development’s small business services, visit our  website  or
reach out to us at [email protected].