By Arainnia Brown
As far back as Philip Johnson Sr. can remember, he’s always had a passion for baking. He would bake any type of loaf, cookie or cake with joy. A few years ago, after seeing how much joy his baking brought to people, he started Integrity Foods, which sold baked goods at farmers markets and catered events. It was a huge hit and the more his business branched out, the more orders he received. But sadly, he was soon forced to put the business on hold when his mother passed away.
A few years later Johnson Sr.’s son, Philip Johnson Jr., convinced his father to start up business again by re-branding and try something new. That is when the journey of Bishop & Son’s began. Johnson Sr – aka the Bishop – took over baking goods while Johnson Jr. – the Son – took over the marketing aspect of their business. Johnson Jr. wanted to take their business to the next level by adding business partners to their dynamic plan and that’s where Duoshun Pledgure entered the picture.
Pledgure is the chef at a local alternative high school and also has a catering business called The Bearded Chef. The Bearded Chef offers a wide variety of meals such as Keto dishes, mac and cheese with delicious toppings, and brunch options that makes a person want to go back for more.
As partners, Bishop & Son’s along with the Bearded Chef cater for community organizations, churches, pop-up shops, holiday bazaars, and school events. In addition to this, they take orders online, by phone, or through email.
As for the future, both businesses are in the process of opening a food cart together, with renovations in the works. It’s a long process and the work will take time. However, it’s a combination of both necessity and dreams coming together. As Pledgure says, it’s about “figuring out a way to centralize all of our business into one, such as having a commercial kitchen and sharing co-op space.” Johnson Jr. adds, “We want people to understand and [see] us as a community co-op. We’re two businesses coming together with a similar vision and we complement each other. It’s about complementing and not competition.”
Bishop & Son’s and The Bearded Chef are not only making a difference with their unique partnership but they’re also setting an example for future generations. “We are willingly and joyfully choosing to partner together because in our community, we don’t get a chance to see healthy partnerships between black-owned businesses, so we want to model that and hope to create other opportunities and space for this vision to continue.” They provide good food options while making a difference within the community, one dish at a time.