I arrived to the US from Jamaica, WI as a child in tow to a single mother. Being new to this country and the landscape, I had to assimilate quickly to the unforgiving world of elementary school. Kids can be cruel, and I suffered the teasing that any new kid with a broken accent and “bummy” clothes would. Through the example and leadership of that single mom, I was taught to be resilient, and strong. “Don’t let anyone pick on you, stand up for yourself”, she would say. That same tough, but loving example was defining in my development. I was able to watch her as she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey, and grew her hair salon from a chair in our house, to a chair and sink in the garage of our second house, to a fully equipped beauty salon which she ran for 14 years. She is the best entrepreneur that I know. That same example is what I strive to emulate as I opened my cafe early in 2016. Don’t take no for an answer, work hard, and give it your all. I am a sole proprietor working hard to make the american dream work for me. We employ a small team of youngsters and day in and day out, we’re giving it our all, serving the community.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
We are a community gathering place disguised as a coffee shop. In the few months since we’ve been open, the Baltimore community has been extremely welcoming and receptive. We have been referred to as a “safe space”, one that can be entered by anyone without judgments based on outward appearance, to get work done, or hang and have a meal with friends. Our Baltimore community focused model, and welcoming nature, provides a platform to other entrepreneurs encourages and facilitates collaboration, creativity and learning — allowing community members to come together and support one another.
We stand behind this by sourcing many of our products such as breads and pastries from local bakers, fruits and vegetables from city farms, and use locally roasted Fair Trade coffee. Even in our build out, we were determined to work with other small businesses based in the city. We feel this is critical in keeping dollars churning locally, and will help in combating the city’s high unemployment and poverty rate.
What is the purpose of this loan?
With a loan from Kiva, we can grow our business by purchasing a high speed oven which would give us the ability to bake our own goods, expanding our menu and creating a more sustainable model, continuing to provide good city jobs.
Years in operation: 6 months – 1 year