What if you could transform a part of your everyday morning routine into a charitable act? This was the mission behind BLK & Bold, a Black-owned coffee company founded by Rod Johnson and Pernell Cezar.
The childhood friends decided to venture into the billion-dollar industry to make each cup of joe count. Five percent of their business is donated to eradicating social issues, including youth homelessness and food deserts, according to Cuisine Noir.
“We really wanted to find a way to impact that vulnerable demographic by doing something we do every day, which is enjoying a cup of coffee or tea,” Cezar said. “The vision of the brand goes back to amplifying contribution and awareness of how for-profit can be this engine for domestic impact.”
Johnson and Cezar, whose previous careers involved higher education and retail merchandising, noticed a lack of representation in the coffee business. With the Des Moines-based startup, they hope to help educate Black consumers about the beverage, while making an impact in the community.
According to the owners, BLK & Bold offers a unique flavor profile from sun-dried coffee beans that allow for more contact with the fruit. With a perfected product and plans for specialty beverages, Johnson and Cezar are greatly anticipating more opportunities to give back through their mission-driven company.
“The more we can build access and distribution within our markets, the more that five percent [donation will] correlate back to their market and it can become more sizable and more normalized,” Johnson said. “We want to create a new model for new representation for all these things that have already existed and never had a way to connect.”