In the city of Philadelphia, there is a rising number of coffee shops. The latest of these treasures is Win Win Coffeebar on 9th and Spring Garden Street. Owners Nikisha Bailey and Matthew Nam acquired this establishment in April 2019 and officially relaunched in June and since then they have made a few changes to make it their own. I had the privilege of sitting down with the owners for a little Q&A.
Katika: How did you guys meet and decide to partner up?
Matthew: Nikisha’s been my best friend going on twelve years. We met at a 4th of July barbecue at my cousin’s place…we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Katika: You know the saying or advice “you can’t do business with friends” but it seems to work out with you guys.
Nikisha: We’re definitely two different people which helps, but just knowing Matt for many years, Matt’s probably the most focused friend that I have that puts himself on a plan or budget and actually follows thru. I’m more so about the people connecting, the vibe, the energy and Matt’s more the logistics, the business.
Katika: Philadelphia has about a 40-45% Black population and only 2% of that are business owners. Did that have any bearing on you deciding to open up a business in Philly? How did you pick Philly?
Matthew: It took me four years. I was looking at spaces where I wanted to buy a home and I felt like Philly was like a place for me to grow a family, so I bought a home here last year. I wanted to further put myself in the community and open up a business as well that’s why I thought about a restaurant/bar place where I can gather with friends and family and new friends.
Nikisha: …And I love coffeeshops and always wanted to own a coffeeshop…we saw this place and it was quirky, fun, and creative. I love the quirky vibe so when I saw it, I was like that is the spot.
Katika: In owning a black business, do you feel it’s important to hire your own?
Matthew: … I think gentrification is not a bad thing. What’s bad about it is that people who are in the neighborhood often don’t have the opportunity to participate in the growth of the community and I think the neighborhood should reflect the diversity of the community. And if you think about a neighborhood that’s going thru a growth phase/growth period, the establishments that go into it don’t reflect the community. So, my job is to make sure I hire locally and I hire people who reflect just that. I don’t wan tot hinder a neighborhood from being better because when a neighborhood is going through that type of phase, it’s providing more jobs, it’s providing more opportunities, it’s providing a safer place and I think all of those are good things as long as the people from that neighborhood can participate.
Katika: Did you have any formal training or schooling to help you own a business?
Matthew: Wikipedia. This has been a huge learning experience! I’ve learned so much in a short period of time, but it’s definitely a lot. The easiest part is taking the food out…the hardest part is the management. I went to school for biology.
Nikisha: I went to a lot of coffeeshops. I now know how to work an espresso machine, how to make lattes…Matt know how to bartend now. A lot of things you have to learn. I became an electrician and plumber when situations arose. Whatever was needed, I became.
Katika: If you could give one tip for those who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Nikisha: Research! Find people who are doing what you see yourself doing and try to find out the steps they took and the mistakes they made so that you’re aware of some issues that may happen. Also, don’t expect everything to be perfect and it’s okay to give yourself time, don’t feel pressured to get things accomplished right away…give yourself time to grow.