Black Alliance Formed on U Street
By Mary Wells
WI Staff Writer
Several weeks ago, a customer at Dave and Nayola Allen’s Trust One, Inc. 7-Eleven franchise store, located at 11th and U streets, N.W., was reading a copy of the Washington Informer and saw an article featuring R&B icon Lloyd Price.
The customer was fascinated to find that Price, of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” fame, had started his own line of foods, including sweet potato cheese cakes and cookies, energy bars and breakfast cereals.
The customer showed the article to Dave, who shares ownership of the store
with his wife, Nayola.
They soon contacted Price about carrying his products. Last week, the Allens welcomed Price to a press conference to announce their alliance. They also celebrated the Allens’ fifth anniversary as owners of a 7-Eleven franchise on U Street.
The Allens had survived five years while other proprietors in the neighborhood closed shop or moved away – some forced out by the gentrification of U Street.
The Allen’s 7-Eleven franchise is the only one in the D.C. Metropolitan area owned by African Americans, according to Margaret Chabris, president of communications for 7-Eleven, based in Houston, Texas. The Allens are one of only three African American 7-Eleven franchise owners in the country.
“We are making this store the official Lloyd Price Icon Food Brands national hub store. The debut of these foods on the shelves and in the freezers help pave the way for the development of more African American food suppliers at other stores all across America,” Price said at the press conference.
“For many years, African American consumers have had to settle for food brands that used their faces for marketing, but not ownership, like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben.”
The Allens’ 7-Eleven serves 36,000 to 40,000 people per month in the community that is about 60 percent African American. More than 40 Lloyd Price fans stood in a light drizzle at the press conference, which was held outside. They were happy to catch up with a beloved celebrity from their youth. Some sought autographs and all were treated to samples of the products inside the store.
They sampled Lawdy Miss Clawdy sweet potato cheesecake and cookies, Make Momma Proud granola cereal, sweet potato “Hoe” cake and Lawdy Miss Clawdy “Personality Pepperoni” and cheese pizzas. The Lloyd Price Icon Energy-2-Eat Bars will be sold in 7-Eleven stores nationwide.
The brand name “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” follows Price’s 1952 No.1 Billboard hit song of the same name, which he recorded at age 17, with Fats Domino playing piano. The song, which has been re-recorded 169 times by other artists including Elvis Presley, still sells at on-line retail sites including Amazon.com and Target.com.
Price was inducted into the 1998 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and inducted into the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Flame on July 12, 2001 for his 16 major hits, including “Stagger Lee,” “Personality,” “Just Because,” and “Where Were You On Our Wedding Day.”