James Holmes, Jr., who has spent more than 34 years in the car industry, is switching gears to open up a new venture, Black Lion Auto Finance, with his wife, attorney, Kimberly Slay Holmes.

At a Friday (Nov.15) launch party at The Reserve at Arbor Lakes, 11650 Arbor Lakes Pkwy. N., Maple Grove, from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Holmes will introduce the public to Black Lion, and two other family members will launch their culinary businesses – Rude Boi LLC and GP’s Delicious BBQ.

Black Lion, an auto sales and brokerage company, seeks to guide and educate the underserved by making car buying and financial literacy more accessible. As an auto industry insider for most of his life, Holmes said he thoroughly understands not only the car business but also the disparities that exist when minorities attempt to buy a car or arrange financing.

“I have faith that I can actuate some level of change,” Holmes said. “After 34 years on the inside witnessing people of color on a constant and systematic basis paying higher prices, rates and fees, I’ve decided to take the initiative to do what I can as an entrepreneur to improve things a little at a time."

Black Lion, a fully African-American owned and operated car dealership in Minnesota, reached out to Gene Perry of GP Barbecue and Michael Holmes of Rude Boi collaborate on a joint grand opening.

Perry, who owns and operates GP’s Delicious BBQ, said quality is his number one priority and is the factor that sets his food apart.

“Everything is fresh and from scratch,” Perry said. “There are no processed products. This is not fast food. Our BBQ is natural wood smoked low and slow.”

Rude Boi, which operates primarily in Red Wing, but caters to surrounding areas, specializes in a more international flavor.

“I would describe my cooking as my take on Caribbean BBQ soul,” owner Michael Holmes said. “It is a representation of me and what I’m about.”

The three entrepreneurs, who are all relatives, want to offer another option to people in their respective fields and hope this launch party propels their businesses in the right direction.

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