Black Business Spotlight: Forreal Coffeehouse
‘Real estate cafe opens in George Floyd Square
Disney business partners Foote and Billy Jones own Forreal Coffeehouse, a new “real estate cafe” located in South Minneapolis at 38th & Chicago, otherwise known as George Floyd Square. They launched a soft opening in March 2022.
The owners met 10 years ago before deciding to start a business together. Today, they are social entrepreneurs on a mission to manifest positive change in the community. “We’re actually a real estate cafe, so it’s two businesses in one,” Foote explained.
Foote deals “on the real estate brokerage side.” She said: “My family’s brokerage is based in Brooklyn Park, which is America’s Realty Group, so my dad has been in real estate my whole life. I have always been in the family business.
Foote got her real estate license in 2015. She noted Jones was more tech-savvy. He graduated in 2008 from Central State University (HBCU) in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he earned a degree in computer science. Currently, Jones is also working on his real estate license.
“I’ve been a broker since 2018,” Foote said, “so we’re creating a space [where] people can come and expect to have a collaborative conversation about money, finances, financial literacy, technology, anything. The owners aspire to create an “open dialogue environment” where everyone is welcome.
Entrepreneurs want the community to enjoy their coffee and learn about real estate. “We have an internship program that I started years ago. I describe it as a reverse real estate journey,” Foote said.
Internship participants would have the opportunity to “work in the cafe, network, learn about real estate, learn if it’s even for you, then connect on deals, work with real agents until you become an agent,” Foote said.
She explained, “So the whole goal is to get people into a space where their barista is also their local real estate expert.” They hope to help people learn about real estate and provide proper advice while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Asked which drink was the most popular on the menu, Jones replied, “Tangy Wake-Up,” which is named after a local artist and food critic by the name of “Tangy G.” Jones described the drink as “something that gives you the energy you need, but is easy to digest, it’s smooth.”
Jones has extensive knowledge and expertise in making the finest coffees and beverages. He used to work as a barista during his high school days. “He’s also an amazing barista,” Foote said. “It’s not a game, it’s really good.”
Foote added, “We are very serious about the quality of the coffee, but the quality of the experience is also important.” The unique cafe can be described as “a space to collaborate and make change,” she said.
The owners are delighted to provide a space where individuals can come together to communicate and make moves. Jones said, “Apart from just talking about it, it’s just figuring out how to get to the goal – figuring out what the problem is and what steps to take, and that’s what Disney is good at.”
The George Floyd memorial site is directly across from the cafe and the owners are happy to be in the neighborhood. Foote said: ‘I told Billy I haven’t been here since June, since the protests. Then we got the keys on March 1, so to see this here even when people go on trips, tourists from all over the world,” is quite surprising.
She added: “They [some tourists] don’t really care about the community or the real problem, they just want their little moment – are we going to lynching sites, is that a thing? Their goal as business owners is to focus on adding value to the neighborhood.
More importantly, “our goal is to bring the place and the Minneapolis area back to life, because obviously since the riots things don’t hold up,” Foote said. As a result, she is motivated to invest in the neighborhood and involve the community.
Jones said: “Even bringing this to the spokesperson [Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder]my grandma was really good friends with Launa Newman (RIP) so when I was growing up all my grandma mentioned was that it was an all black neighborhood.
He added, “We wanted to feel what this neighborhood looked like before, especially on 38th Street when you watch the PBS documentaries.”
So far, the real estate cafe has been well received by the community, and they are grateful for the outpouring of support. Owners pay it forward with tips for youngsters and budding entrepreneurs.
“Whatever you plan, if God puts a vision in your head, then you can do it. The sky really is the limit,” Jones said. He added, “God develops you.
Foote added: “Life is going to keep repeating the same messages – and if you just read between the lines of our life experiences, individually, who you are today just reflects what came to you when you were eight. So just stay connected and aware of yourself.
For more information, visit www.forrealcoffeehouse.com.
Ashley Lauren is a contributing writer at MN Spokesman-Recorder.