On Instagram the operator of the Square account wrote the following:
“Coffee comes from Africa — that’s where the first coffee was grown — but you don’t see a lot of people of color in the coffee industry.”
Meet the Konte family, founders of @redbaycoffee. Keba Konte dipped his toe into the specialty coffee industry in 2014, roasting coffee in Whirley Pops — popcorn makers — that he found at thrift stores. From his garden shed, he built something he describes as “beautiful.” Red Bay Coffee has grown into three Bay Area cafes, a roastery in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, and a location opening soon in Los Angeles.
For the Konte family, this isn’t just about making a good cup of coffee — it’s about empowering their local community and coffee suppliers through economic opportunity. Red Bay is focused on making the speciality coffee industry a more inclusive space for everyone.
“Hiring people and creating jobs is our North Star,” says Jessica, Keba’s daughter. “We hire formerly incarcerated women and young folks coming out of the foster system. We hire women in places of leadership, especially black women, whose families originate from coffee-producing countries.”
Oakland is special to Keba and his family. They were priced out of San Francisco in the 1990s and moved to Oakland with the intention of building something that would help their community thrive. Red Bay’s ethos is rooted in community, in building each other up, and in helping the city’s entrepreneurs and makers succeed.
“Tap into what your community has to offer, whether it’s startup capital or space. Use the kitchen at church during the week when it’s available. Really seek out the resources in your community, because there are more than you think.”
Awesome. But Square itself must commit to hire qualified black local Oaklanders for jobs, first.
I see you Jack Dorsey!
ONN – Square Celebrates Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee On Instagram But Needs To Show It Employs Black Folks Too
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