Black Owned Coffee business

How This Black Owned Coffee Business is Thriving Through a Pandemic


Red Bay Coffee is a Black-owned, wholesale specialty coffee roasting company based in Oakland, California.

They import and have direct relationships with coffee farmers in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia.

The company was founded by Keba Konte, who launched it out of his home back in 2014.

Keba Konte

Pre pandemic, Red Bay served as a community hub hosting events, including food popups, concerts, magazine releases, panel discussions, and self-care festivals.

During the first few months of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent “stay-at-home” mandates,  business slowed dramatically. Red Bay experienced a drastic reduction in their wholesale office service and cafe service. This prompted the decision to refocus on selling via their website and doing more social media marketing.

Before the pandemic, e-commerce was the smallest segment of Red Bay’s various revenue streams. Now, as a result of so many people being forced to stay at home, online sales have grown 350%.

The increase stems from the fact that much of its Silicon Valley audience is now drinking coffee at home and having their coffee beans shipped directly to them.

“Then there’s another group who were drinking our coffee at our cafés, and we had to close most of them,” Konte added. They too have turned to having their coffee beans shipped.

The pandemic has forced it to become more efficient than in the past. “In the future, we have the muscle to push ourselves into various channels, and yet we’re still small enough to be nimble to adapt to the current environment,” he said.

Visit Red Bay coffee online and subscribe to their monthly service.

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