Beyu Caffé a soulful community coffee shop offering an upbeat, eclectic and warm kitchen-table atmosphere complete with specialty coffee beans, drinks, food, and culture, has been named a Champion for Community Service by the Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women organization (TCREW).
The presentation and announcement were made at TCREW’s 22nd annual Triangle CREW Champion Awards luncheon on August 27.
Dorian Bolden is the CEO and founder of Beyu Caffé, which has grown from one to four sites since the original shop opened on Main Street in Durham in 2009. His unwavering vision has always been to promote community, thus the slogan “without community it’s just coffee.”
“Our mission is to uplift and inspire, and we achieve this by helping the people who live in our backyard,” says Bolden.
Beyu caught TCREW’s attention because they are doing just that. According to TCREW President Kellie Ford with SME Inc., Bolden’s determination to make a difference-- starting with the opening of his first shop in the middle of a recession-- by giving back to the community during the pandemic was worth recognizing.
“In March 2020, instead of shutting his doors, this business leader took action. He kept his kitchen open and initiated the Feed DURM Coalition, an effort to provide meals to healthcare workers, school kids and teachers, and low-income families.
Since starting the Coalition, he and partners have provided an astounding 250,000 meals and counting to the community. And if that wasn’t enough, he opened a third location of his successful Beyu Caffé at Boxyard RTP,” said Ford.
The COVID pandemic forced Beyu to pivot from its original business model of providing in-person entertainment, food, and meeting space to demonstrating community service in another manner, all while taking a major business hit, losing employees and having to cut salaries.
Not one to rest on his laurels or lick his wounds, Bolden re-read a book that drove home the truism that money and good works are not mutually exclusive. It reminded him that the two are, in fact, aligned.
“It’s all about service,” said Bolden.
And so began the Beyu Food Project in partnership with a myriad of other like-minded business owners and restaurateurs. The service project was created to address food insecurity and show gratitude to front-line workers by serving sustenance during the pandemic’s trying times.
Not only did the collective behind the project raise more than $100,000 to execute the plan, but the Beyu Food Project served more than 270,000 individual meals in the midst of the pandemic and provided revenue to other participating restaurants.