I Love My Coffee Black is slated to open its first brick-and-mortar location in Chicago‘s Englewood neighborhood. According to founder Kavia Simmons, the 150-square-foot cafe would serve customers coffee, tea and pastries.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported the coffee company’s new home is thanks to Save A Lot franchisee Yellow Banana, which promised to include a Black-owned vendor at its Englewood location after receiving backlash for moving into a former Whole Foods store that closed last year. Community members protested the store’s opening, complaining about Save A Lot’s reputation.
As part of their license agreement, Yellow Banana and I Love My Coffee Black’s partnership will run until March 2024. The former will receive a monthly 5% fee of gross monthly sales from the coffee shop. Simmons plans to have a grand opening later this month and said working with Save A Lot “has been good” so far, according to the outlet.
Passionate about the coffee field, Simmons launched her company in 2019 and knew the coffee space well before creating I Love My Coffee Black. According to the Sun-Times, she began working at Stivers Coffee‘s warehouse, where she still works and sources her beans for her company.
“I’m still roasting. I’m grinding. I’m inventing,” Simmons said.
Stivers Coffee founder Greg Stivers had a hand in Simmons getting the Yellow Banana partnership. The company initially approached him, but with plans to retire, he recommended Simmons, per the paper.
Simmons had opened several pop-up stores around Chicago and planned to open a coffee truck before a brick-and-mortar location. She still wants the coffee truck and to open a roastery.
“It’s totally a stepping stone for me to connect my brand with the community,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m looking to maybe educate the community about heart health awareness. Most of us believe we have to have coffee with a ton of cream and sweeteners in order for us to get a flavor.”
This new chapter is a thrilling one for Simmons and her business.
“I’m really excited about being in the grocery store around the customers and being outside of the warehouse,” she said.