Three African American entrepreneurs — Michael Nance, Ademola Adewale-Sadik, and Walker Brumskin — who met while attending Yale Law School are now the founders of Yellow Banana, a Cleveland, Ohio-based retail firm that owns and operates 38 Black-owned grocery stores with annual revenues in excess of $130 million. Most recently, Chicago’s City Council’s Finance Committee has granted them a $13.5 million subsidy to buy and transform six more grocery stores.
Having only started just a year ago in 2021, their company has become very successful very quickly with more than 400 store employees and grocery stores located across the Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, and Dallas metropolitan areas. Even more impressive is their core mission which is to deliver essential nutrition to working families in underserved communities at affordable prices.
All of their stores are independent Save A Lot franchises, and Yellow Banana is proud to be Save A Lot’s third-largest retail partner across the country. The majority of their stores are located in food deserts, that is, in census tracts with limited access to affordable, quality food.
The trio commented, “We recognize the impact that the non-availability of nutrition has on individuals, families, and communities… In addition to our daily work, we are also committed to donating a percentage of our annual profits to non-profit organizations that address food equity issues in the United States.”
All three of them earned a law degree from Yale Law School. However, Walker and Ademola have also earned MBAs from Harvard Business School. In running their company, they are also joined by Joseph Canfield, a seasoned operator and also one of the co-founders of 127 Wall, their venture capital firm.
The $13.5 million investment that they will be receiving from Mayor Lightfoot and the City of Chicago will be used to purchase the underlying real estate for six new locations in the South and West sides of Chicago. The funds will also be used to complete full internal and external remodels, including new flooring, lighting, HVAC, dairy and meat cases, interior and exterior painting, new décor, and signage.