New downtown café to receive grant
Published 9:57 pm Wednesday, December 11, 2019
A new café proposed for a spot on West Washington Street will receive a $15,000 toward getting the business off the ground.
The owners of Wall St. Café, slated to be at 118 W. Washington St., will receive the Downtown Suffolk Business Launch Competition grant following a unanimous vote of the Economic Development Authority on Wednesday. The money will go toward reimbursing the startup costs of opening the business.
Wall St. Café, which will be a combination of a café and real estate consultancy, has until Feb. 29 to acquire the property and open the business, according to the terms of the grant. The business will also be a place for entrepreneurs to talk about business and investors to place trades and monitor the stock market.
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As part of the process of readying itself to open, Wall St. Café will install extra lighting and mount its TVs and ticker, install Wi-Fi and build out its investor work space and install a security system.
It will also install café equipment, which includes an espresso grinder, microwave, a refrigerator and cooler, a regular coffee grinder, coffee brewers, decanters, satellite servers, frappe and smoothie blenders, iced tea brewers and dispensers and a hot water dispenser.
The company plans to create one full time job and three part-time equivalent jobs by Feb. 29, and it will be required to submit progress reports to the grant manager until it receives a certificate of occupancy.
Once the business opens, it is required to submit a report that will include information about new jobs created, its location, the investment amount from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the city government, private capital investment, local money loaned, tax revenue generated and the total amount it has invested in the business, its location and equipment.
The president of the business, Domenick Epps, and its vice president, Danita Hayes, were at the EDA meeting to introduce themselves to the board.
Epps told the board that he expects to close on the property by the end of the month and be open by the end of February. The lower floor, he said, is already move-in ready.
He said Wall St. Café would bring the modernity of the New York Stock Exchange but also bring with it the rich history of the Black Wall Street from the Greenwood area of Tulsa, Okla. According to History.com, that area “had thrived as the epicenter of African American business and culture, particularly on bustling Greenwood Avenue, commonly known as Black Wall Street.”
“It’s something new that we expect in the next five to 10 years to be global, to be in several locations around the world,” Epps said. “We’re excited that we have the opportunity to start it right here in my hometown of Suffolk, Virginia.”