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Soul food and soul care: An entrepreneurial family's small business empire is expanding • the Hi-lo - Long Beach Post

Nov 28, 2021

Nora Tatum was like a lot of people around the world, when the pandemic hit, her business began to decline. After spending 20 years in the dental field, she found herself spending days at home without work.

Cooking was how Tatum avoided falling into depression. When her daughter, Mya Pearson gave her mother an apron that said “in the kitchen” for Christmas, she told her mother it was time to take her love of cooking to the next level. That was when In the Kitchen was born.

The restaurant started in Tatum’s home but it wasn’t long before she knew she needed a permanent location. Now at 900 Long Beach Blvd., In the Kitchen provides the soul food you crave. My personal favorite is the meatloaf.

People within the community have their favorites as well, and Tatum says their feedback is reflected in some of the menu items. The most recent addition is a drink called The Kitchen Sink which is a punch Tatum created in response to customers wanting Kool-Aid on the menu.

Attached to the restaurant is a small space Tatum was using for storage. When her daughter, who is a fitness trainer, broke her foot and was unable to work, Tatum offered the storage space to Pearson to use however she saw fit. Pearson says the goal became to create a business that would be beneficial to the community and also profitable.

Pearson has always worked in wellness and felt this would be a great way to go into nutrition. During the pandemic, she received her nutritionist certification and created Feel Awakened, a concept Pearson says brought together her fitness training and wellness blogs under one roof.

Feel Awakened features smoothies and açaí bowls. She also has superfoods to help with overall wellness. She says thinking about our health from the inside out is a concept she wanted to reintroduce to the community. Pearson says she knows people may think wellness food right next to a soul food restaurant is strange but, a healthy smoothie is a great compliment to any main dish.

In the Kitchen and Feel Awakened will both celebrate their one-year anniversary in 2022. They are the two newest businesses in this family of entrepreneurs. The Salt Lounge is also owned by Tatum’s daughter and son-in-law and has been in business for three years. They are all located near St. Mary Medical Center, in Central Long Beach.

Tanai and Wesley Holder are both wellness coaches. The couple started offering wellness services from their home several years before opening the Salt Lounge. Their goal was to help people learn how to care for themselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The entire business is based around their Himalayan Salt room. A quiet room, which includes 550 pounds of Himalayan Salt along the walls as well as a salt lamp. Wesley Holder says breathing the ions in the room promotes softer hair and skin, mental clarity, and gives people a chance to recharge. The Salt Lounge also has several products including salt lamps, bath bombs, essential oils, crystals and so much more. The couple has also created their own fragrance for the holidays called Sacred Union. Holder says the fragrance is designed to promote peace and love.

The Salt Lounge won small business of the year in 2020 and is located just off of Ninth Street at 853 Atlantic Ave #102. You can also visit them online here.

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