The first Black-owned, nationally distributed coffee brand just announced a distribution deal with Whole Foods and Amazon, Black Enterprise reports.
BLK & Bold is a specialty coffee brand owned by co-founders Rod Johnson and Pernell Cezar. The company was founded in 2018 after both men left their careers in academia and retail to build a business around their passion for coffee. While neither of the men had experience on the business side, their love for the roasted beans led to a desire to want to see more diversity on the business side of things.
“That really was the reason why we decided to embark on this entrepreneurial endeavor. Foremost, really, because we wanted to have representation on the other side of the counter; wanted to make sure that, considering how much we drink coffee as a culture, that there’s again that representation as merchants as well,” Johnson told Yahoo Finance.
There was also the opportunity to give back, as evidenced by their social impact model in which 5 percent of sales are reinvested into social initiatives, specifically those addressing issues that impact youth. “As our national and regional retailer partnerships grow, so do the opportunities for anyone to participate in supporting at-risk youth, the demographic in most need. Creating a pathway for everyday consumers to become contributors to the most vulnerable communities is as personally fulfilling as it is motivating for [our company’s] growth,” said Johnson.
The Iowa based brand initially tested their product in 15 locations in Whole Foods Markets but the new deal expands the brand to more than 31 locations in the midwest region. The products are also available via Amazon with the company officially launching its storefront on the e-commerce site last month.
“The seemingly overnight shift of the retail landscape and store operations have no doubt impacted the flow of emerging brands entering and expanding in the market. This is also why the alliance with Whole Foods and other key retailers continues to showcase the support and belief in BLK & Bold as a coffee brand,” Cezar said.
For more information on BLK & Bold, visit their website.
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Photo Courtesy of BLK & Bold/Black Enterprise