SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A mother and daughter in Sherman Heights are hoping their new coffee shop will uplift Black lives. In this Zevely Zone, I received a double shot of community pride. Sometimes all you need to know about the love shared between a mother and daughter, happens before the interview begins.
Cynthia Ajani and Khea Pollard were smiling, hugging, and primping before we got down to the important business at hand; creating good for their Black community. "Why not start with an industry that we are underrepresented in which is the coffee industry," said Khea. It may just be a cup of coffee, but this mother and daughter are ready to pour it on. "I'm all in, I'm all in," said Cynthia.
This mother daughter duo with no coffee experience opened Café X: 'By Any Beans Necessary'. Imagine the pride a mother would feel when her daughter's dream is to take Sherman Heights to new heights. "It's her turn, her generation is the millennials right now. I've worked for many nonprofit jobs in my life," said Cynthia. She and Khea want to stress this job is for profit. They plan to create wealth in their community by bringing on partners. "Maybe seven, maybe ten, we'll see," said Khea. "Right now, it's just us." They plan on inviting other people to become partners to grow and share the profits. "Absolutely, you got it," said the mother and daughter.
The hope is the coffee attracts customers from all walks of life. "Are you ready for the Puppa-ccino," said Cynthia. After serving dozens of cups of coffee and treats to humans, it was time to serve a four-legged customer. A dog named Sadie gulped down a whipped cream dog biscuit treat. It's a café built for both smiles and difficult conversations. "Economic justice is number one, that is a priority for us making sure we level out that playing field," said Khea.
Her mother, Cynthia worked for decades in human resources. Cynthia wants to use her skills to brew something special at Café X by asking. "How can we improve anything that I touch. How can I improve that?" asked Cynthia.
This is a family that believes in opportunity and equity for all. "What about? What if? How can we?" asked Cynthia inside Café X which is named in honor of Malcolm X. What was it about the human rights activist that inspired them? "Everything, everything about him," said Khea. "Throughout that whole time in his life he really came to be all about self-determination and making sure that the Black community had its needs met." "He spoke the truth," said Cynthia.
If you think their coffee is strong, wait until you learn more about their message. "All people can be involved in this movement," said Khea. Her mother added, "For me my vision is that we would be in different states."
Watch out Starbucks.
"We are not in competition with anybody, not even Starbucks," said Cynthia.
If you'd like to learn more about Café X "By Any Beans Necessary" click here.