Vanessa Braxton Black-Owned Vodka Brand “Black Momma” to Open Cafe and Bar
Black Momma Vodka’s owner, Vanessa Braxton, is expanding her burgeoning empire. Braxton plans to open next year’s 4,600-square-foot cafe and bar in Wheatley Heights, New York, according to Black Business.
In preparation of the debut of Black Momma Tea & Cafe, she has recently taken over three storefronts in a New York shopping plaza. 160 different tea varieties, three flavored agaves and vegan and organic food products such as muffins and wraps will be served at the proposed restaurant.
Braxton, 50, from Dix Hills, started making her own Black Momma vodkas in 2013 and opened a factory in Wyandanch in 2016. She also started making teas, followed by flavored agaves, and now has 33,000 customers online and wholesale, selling $2.9 million. She plans to open distribution centers in several states, while the Wheatley Heights building will serve as the company headquarters and training facility for the nearly 300 franchisees who are interested in working with her.
Braxton said she looked at many properties, according to Newsday, but chose Wheatley Heights because among its 5,100 residents it was about 60 percent black and Latino. “I have plenty of places to go,” says Braxton, a retired structural engineer from the MTA. “But I wanted to take the opportunity to see what I’m doing for the community for people who look like me to step up and do the same thing.”
“I’m using a lot of small, minority, women, and veteran-owned vendors who’ve never had the opportunity with bigger places,” she said. “It’s economic inclusion for everyone,” said Chris Black, president of the Concerned Taxpayers of Wheatley Heights / Dix Hills Civic Association. “What she brings is a different flavor to the city center and it’s upscale.” “We want this in the community.”
Braxton is Black Momma Vodka and Black Momma Brand’s CEO and president. She is also the country’s first African American female distiller, master blender, and manufacturer of a nationally distributed vodka, and the founder of the country’s first black-owned tea and beverage plant.