Vanessa Braxton the Owner of Black Momma Tea & Café Opens More Café & Bars
Black Momma Tea & Cafe owner is waiting for permission from Babylon Town to open a cafe, bar and office on Colonial Springs Avenue, more than 4,600 square feet away.
“What she brings to the city center is a different flavor and it’s upscale,” said Chris Black, president of the Wheatley Heights / Dix Hills Civic Association’s Concerned Taxpayers. “We want this in the community.”
Braxton, 50, of Dix Hills, started making vodkas for Black Momma in 2013 and opened a factory in Wyandanch in 2016. She started making teas that same year, followed by flavored agaves, and now has 33,000 customers online and retail, making sales of $2.9 million. She said that in some states she would soon open distribution centers. For the nearly 300 interested franchisees, Braxton said, the Wheatley Heights building will serve as the company headquarters and training facility.
“I’ve got plenty of places I can go,” said Braxton, a former black MTA structural engineer. “So I wanted to take the opportunity for people who look like me to see what I’m doing for the world so they can step up and do the same thing.”
The cafe will offer “grab and go” food items such as wraps and muffins, with a focus on vegan and organic products, along with the brand items. The cafe will also have meeting rooms at the community’s disposal, and Braxton said she plans to use partnerships for free classes with companies like Microsoft.
The cafe will also highlight other local businesses ‘ food and drink items, including craft beers, Braxton said.
“I use a lot of vendors owned by small, minority, women and veterans who have never had the chance with larger places,” she said. “For everyone, it’s social inclusion.”
Braxton, who started her 2017 cafe company, used Wefunder, a San Francisco-based equity crowdfunder platform, to raise more than $1 million in investment. She said it was based on profiles from Wefunder and the U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission rules require it to verify the identities of its investors that most of them are black as well.
Braxton, who said it would cost $250,000 to $550,000 to open a franchise, said she was planning to list the business next year on the New York Stock Exchange.
Braxton said she plans to open early next year if approval is granted.