Ajani and Khea Pollard are a Black mother-daughter duo coffee entrepreneurs.
“We’re Café X by Any Beans Necessary. That’s the full name,” said co-owner Cynthia Ajani.
Their brand was designed not only for the brew but for the community, serving as a coffee shop, catering service, and events space with a mission of communal wealth building for communities of color in San Diego.
“We were on such an upward trajectory, it was crazy. We had so many wonderful things going on and support from the community,” Ajani said.
Not long after their start in December 2019, they had events booked through June. So, when the pandemic hit, things took a major downturn.
“98%,” Ajani explained. “I’m telling you I could see tumbleweeds rolling down the street while I was there during the day. I’m not even joking about that.”
And to top that off, the owner of the building where the café was located decided to sell, leaving them and the other businesses in the building out of luck.
“And even if we as one, one of the businesses was able to produce and maintain our own business, it still wouldn’t cover the whole thing,” Ajani said.
So that’s when the mother-daughter team decided rethink their approach, turning from coffee shop entrepreneurs to coffee bean entrepreneurs.
“We built our blend, the house factor blend — ‘Café X: X-Factor House Blend’ –through a lot of trial and error,” said Khea Pollard. “A lot of tasting went into that product.”
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SOURCE: NBC San Diego, Mark Mehlinger and Lindsay Hood