Coffee shop pivots to help Black businesses during pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Once full of smiles, family and storytime, the pandemic changed everything at Nolia Cafe.

"If we had set out and said we're just making a coffee shop then yeah, we would've been devastated, and I don't know that we would've fully reopened if that was the whole purpose," said Justin Minott, the owner.

But Minott knew the business' purpose was much bigger. So the programming went virtual

Then, Minott saw the need to also help Black-owned businesses that were barely surviving during the pandemic. And knew he could help.

"We have the space. We have the following. What would it look like to run a brick-and-mortar curbside-style market where people can buy all of these local, Black products in one place?" Minott said.

With that, Nolia Market was born. Within days, Minott raised $15,000 to get the project started and so far, 20 Black-owned businesses will be featured for curbside pickup, creating a one-stop shopping experience.

"The goal for us is revenue for these vendors. That is the whole goal because a lot of them are really struggling and I don't want to lose more Black businesses than we have to," Minott said.

The goal is to open the market at the beginning of April. Click here if you would like to help with the campaign. Whatever amount you donate is a gift card you can use in the market when it opens.
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