WILLINGBORO, New Jersey—John Harmon, founder, president, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said his message to perspective Black business owners is “you’ve got to step out there.”
Primed as such, Brother Lance Muhammad, a high school principal and member of Muhammad Mosque No. 12 who also serves as the Nation of Islam Delaware Valley Student Regional Secretary, also had this vision. His vision was to step out on faith and build a business model based on the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the eternal leader of the Nation of Islam, and what better place than Willingboro.
Willingboro has a 69 percent Black population. The township borders six Burlington County municipalities and a very progressive Nation of Islam study group under the leadership of Student Minister Bryan Muhammad.
So, he pulled together investors and business partners as a first step. He then solicited the help of his wife, Lafonda, an accomplished real estate agent who helped find the property the group purchased.
Brother Lance told The Final Call the business design is unique. Two standalone businesses are located in a shared space connected by a hallway for easy access to both businesses. The two firms also share a common kitchen. It has two public entrances.
“Brother Cory X and Sharule, another brother I grew up with, we came together, purchased the building under LLC Supreme Clientele Team,” Brother Lance said. The three friends have known each other for 25 years.
“The concept was to have two different restaurants in one location. By doing this, our inspections would be halved. In addition, we’d share a kitchen with two different restaurants, The Supreme Sweets-Dessert Shop and Shokra’s Soups.”
Located in East Ridge Plaza, 621 Beverly Rancocas Road, it is easily accessible by various highways. The Willingboro Study Group meets in the complex. The restaurants are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Supreme Sweets is open on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Supreme Sweets-Dessert Shop is owned and operated by Brother Lance and Sharule. It offers a variety of delectable desserts, including banana pudding, chocolate pudding, cheesecake and bean pie, to name a few, plus a vegan menu, including vegan banana bread and vegan blueberry bread.
Brother Cory X and his wife, Sister Ada, own Shokra Soups on the other side. As soon as you enter the restaurant, you are hit by the wonderful scent of various soups and stews.
In every respect, the food they prepare is spiritual, according to Sister Ada X.
“In terms of what you desire for your temple, that is yourself; it’s all about mindful eating, intentional eating. The chakras inspire our color-based concept,” she said.
Sister Ada and Brother Cory both said they would be remiss if they did not acknowledge “How to Eat to Live’s” influence on their diet choices.
“That was the first book, ‘How to Eat to Live,’ © Books 1 and II—Brother Corey and I follow all of the regimens in that book. It’s the basis for all that we do,” she said.
Brother Cory shared: “We are mostly vegan and vegetarian, as well as offering some fish and salmon. Overall, we want to serve food that is healthy and holistic.”
“We wanted to do something beneficial and show the power of our unity so that others could model what we are doing as far as coming together and pooling resources,” Brother Lance said. “But even further into that, both myself and Brother Cory were members of the Nation of Islam, and my brother, who I grew up with, Sharule, was a member of the 5 percent Nation of Gods and Earth. We wanted to demonstrate the power of us coming together from different schools of thought, showing that, you know, we are all one and that we can work together and grow together.”
“All praise is due to Allah, and I am filled with inspiration from the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I work as a principal by day. Despite loving what I do, I desired to do something for myself and the community. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Louis Farrakhan gave me the guidance and courage to step out. When I stepped out, I realized nothing was holding me back except my fear of the unknown,” Brother Lance said.
The Final Call spotted Muhammad Mosque No. 12’s Brother Fred Muhammad shopping.
“It is always exciting to see a new Muslim business open, especially one that offers vegan food, sweets and bean pies all in one. You can’t beat that. I am always glad to support Muslim businesses, even if it means crossing the bridge,” Brother Fred said.