In an effort to accelerate the growth and utilization of Women and Minority-Owned Enterprises (W/MBEs), Foodbuy recently launched the Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program. This comprehensive 12-month program provides selected suppliers one-on-one coaching and training through formal mentor-mentee relationships, and the opportunity to collaborate on plans that mutually grow our business.
Suppliers selected to participate in the accelerator program benefit from:
- One-on-one coaching and partnership with an industry leader
- A comprehensive review of Compass Group sectors and operations
- Insights into the Foodbuy business model and best practices
- Development of strategic plans that accelerate business growth
- Admission into Foodbuy special events
- In-depth training sessions
We will periodically feature program participants, and this month we are pleased to interview Pernell Cezar, the co-founder and CEO of BLK & Bold, to learn more about the company and their journey so far.
What products and services does your company provide?
We offer a range of Fair Trade and direct trade specialty coffee. All products are sourced, blended, and micro-roasted in-house.
Where are you based and how did your company get started?
I started the company in Des Moines, Iowa, with my childhood best friend from Gary, Indiana, Jarrhod (Rod) Johnson. We were both raised in less-resourced homes in the same neighborhood. Despite our socio-economic surroundings, we were able to graduate college, serve our communities, and become high-achieving leaders with many other successes along the way. We had a desire to create a brand that would have an impact aligned to our personal values of supporting disadvantaged youth. We also had a passion for coffee and tea, so I began roasting coffee from my garage, and Rod built an e-commerce store and social media community from which BLK & Bold made its initial launch on June 1st, 2018.
What distinguishes your company and its offerings?
BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages is a coffee roastery and national wholesaler of specialty coffee. We contribute 5% of our profits to initiatives across the US that support disadvantaged domestic youth. We are proud to be the first and only Black-owned (MBE Certified) nationally-distributed coffee as well as a fully-certified B Corp, reinforcing our domestic-impact commitment to our consumers and stakeholders. Our mission is to make a fundamental shift in the choices of coffee consumers by providing a range of specialty coffees that positively impact communities across the US.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
I’m most excited to continue introducing our brand values and great tasting products to both business partners in foodservice and consumers alike. We made significant progress in 2020 by gaining national distribution, becoming a top selling brand online, aligning with a total of 14 pledge partners across the US, and becoming a Certified B Corp. We’re now in a position to create meaningful employment opportunities and further accelerate the positive impact we can make to disadvantaged youth across the country, which is the reason we’ve committed ourselves to partners in the foodservice space that align with us on furthering this initiative.
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