NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A fourth-generation Bushwick resident who owns a community cafe dedicated to promoting healthy food access has won this year’s 1010 WINS Small Business $10K Challenge.
Kymme Williams-Davis, who co-owns Bushwick Grind with her husband Raymond Davis, took the top prize in this year's challenge, which was also sponsored by BNB Bank.
The “mom and pop” coffee shop on Whipple Street “provides a delicious cup of coffee, good food and company, while being engaged in a wide variety of community causes,” Williams-Davis told judges during the challenge, which was held virtually (see video above).
“Fun fact: My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother are all Bushwick girls,” she said during her presentation to the judges. “So it was no surprise that this fourth-gen chick also called BK USA her home and loves this community.”
“What is shocking, however, is that access to healthy food in my historically black and brown community is still limited,” she added. “This is what birthed another Brooklyn baby nearly five years ago: Bushwick Grind.”
Williams-Davis — who happened to win the challenge on her birthday — said she was “overjoyed” by the victory.
“This has been an insanely tough time, with everything that’s going on,” she said, noting that her business has “had to make adjustments.”
Williams-Davis also lost her father to COVID-19, she said.
She and her husband will use the $10,000 prize to launch an urban farming business line that will operate in tandem with their cafe. They plan to rent the empty lot adjacent to their cafe as part of the launch.
“This business line will allow us to produce food right here,” she said. “The idea is to reduce (the) cost of using these other food producers — and sometimes the logistic challenges there — (and) to grow the food that’s going into our (dishes), into our smoothies.”
They also hope to sell produce directly to the community and host youth programs centered around the farm.
The farming initiative will “reinforce our community engagement by offering a true farm-to-table profile, increasing overall education and visibility to the bountifulness of producing food,” she said.
“Our little mom and shop business line has progressed from just coffee and pastries, to full breakfast, lunch and brunch, to catering, to food services,” she said. “We plan to keep spreading love, because it’s the Brooklyn way.”
Eight other businesses — Tribeca Sailing in Manhattan; Spa Diner in Hoboken; The DanceSource in Queens; The Mad Science of Long Island on Long Island; Kate’s Cheese Co. in Greenpoint; Mario’s Restaurant in the Bronx; Griff’s Place on Staten Island; and Cheryl’s Global Soul in Brooklyn — were finalists in the competition.
All nine finalists will receive a $100 Mastercard gift card from BNB Bank. Williams-Davis will also receive a $500 gift card from BNB Bank, in addition to the $10,000 prize.
Jim Manseau, the executive vice president and chief retail banking officer for BNB; Kristine Tonkonow, the founder of Konery in Brooklyn; and Ken Giddon, the owner of Rothmans in Manhattan, acted as judges.