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Kenosha collective space helping Black-owned businesses grow: 'Oftentimes it gets overlooked'

“Kenosha will never have a strong community without its black community."
Posted at 5:25 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 09:04:32-05

KENOSHA, Wis. — At Regimen Barber Collective, you find Kenosha locals getting fresh fades. However, the shop provides more than just cuts: it is also a place for culture and dreams to grow.

Two days a week, in the back of the shop, DeShaun Foster sells coffee to locals. He opened BLAK Coffee Shop at the beginning of the year. The shop combines two things he loves in life, coffee and family. The name is inspired by his grandmother.

“I remember waking up at her house smelling black coffee all the time, and a lot of people traditionally drink their coffee black. So I wanted to go with BLAK Coffee,” said DeShaun.

Each of the drinks are named after a different family member, like Louise’s Lattes and Jojo’s Coco.

“Just my tribute to them, to say I appreciate you, I love you,” said DeShaun.

BLAK Coffee Shop
BLAK Coffee Shop

The shop not only features coffee but also different lemonade drinks and desserts. His daughter even gets in on the action too by selling her own recipe for hot chocolate on Saturday’s.

“I want her to learn work ethic. Work ethic is important to me, being raised by a single mom. That was something instilled in me from her. Some thing's you have to work harder than other people and that’s something I want to teach my daughter, to work hard,” said DeShaun.

He hopes to have his own location one day, but for now, it’s his mentor and owner of Regimen Barber Collective, Alvin Owens, who gave him a chance to pursue his dreams by providing the space for a pop-up location.

"I just wanted to make sure it was open for our Kenosha community, especially for Africans American businesses and efforts and movements, because oftentimes it gets overlooked,” said Alvin.

BLAK Coffee Shop
BLAK Coffee Shop

Alvin opened the “Collective” back in 2020 and since then, it’s been an area for other Black owners to sell their products. The shop even hosts a podcast one day a month.

“It’s a collective of emerging businesses,” said Alvin.

Alvin said supporting Black-owned businesses is the key to success in the City of Kenosha and he hopes elected officials take note.

“Kenosha will never have a strong community without its black community, and I say that with passion and conviction, because how can you have any great city and nation without each community that has contributed to it,” said Alvin.

With each drink being served, new faces, different cultures and people are coming together to share a cup of coffee, one drink at a time.

“To see something like this happen in Kenosha, I’ve been here all my life, so to see something like this it’s a really good feeling,” said Diamond Hartwell, a BLAK Coffee customer.

“Just a reminder to wake up and smell the coffee everyday is a blessing, especially in times right now,” said DeShaun.

BLAK Coffee is open on Tuesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., located at 1345 52nd Street in Kenosha.

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