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Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses holds event to support Eastown Cereal Cafe

"I really appreciate them actually coming here and just supporting and showing love to just another Black-owned business that's in the making."

Eighteen-year-old Taylor Kyle is building her legacy in Grand Rapids with her newly opened cereal bar. 

 "I'm just building something up for my future family," Kyle said Friday. "I love it. every single moment I appreciate it."

Kyle comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so when she saw the opportunity to create something that Grand Rapids lacked — her family encouraged her to try. 

Eastown Cereal Cafe has over 100 different cereals on its shelves and serves up cereal, milkshakes and waffles. Kyle said she had worried about how the coronavirus pandemic may impact business, but so far, she's been surprised by the support. 

"It's actually been a great start for us, especially us being new," Kyle said.  

Kyle, who is a senior, starts her weekdays at East Kentwood High School, before heading to the shop until close and then going to track practice. 

"At school, so many people don't recognize that I own this business," she said. 

It's not always easy to balance it all, Kyle says, but it's been worth it. 

"I have my stressful moments, but then I know that at end of the day it's all for a reason," Kyle said. "I'm just trying to leave a legacy here in Michigan."

On Saturday Feb. 27, the support continues with Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) hosting its first GRABB MOBB of the year at Eastown Cereal Cafe. 

"It's pretty much like a financial cash mob or a financial flash mob where everybody shows up on one specific day, and spend money, you know, to support that business," Robinson said. 

In the past, GRABB MOBBs have led to a "ripple effect" for businesses, Robinson says, which is vital as businesses continue under 25% capacity restrictions. 

GRABB, an economic and business development organization, has held digital markets throughout the pandemic to showcase Black-owned businesses. 

But, as businesses open back up, Robinson said the plan is to hold GRABB MOBBs to show support. 

As an entity that's goal is to launch and sustain Black businesses, GRABB has had to focus on helping business owners survive the last year.

"2020 presented its challenges, you know, for everyone, but, especially the Black community, given the health implications of COVID," Robinson said. "And then also the Black business community."

When initial rounds of government relief aid largely excluded Black business owners, GRABB partnered with funders to create a $100,000 fund. The fund helped 23 local Black-owned businesses. 

"We really just kicked in overdrive, just trying to help as many Black businesses, you know, make it to the other side of COVID, without having to give up on their life dreams of business ownership and wealth creation for their families," Robinson said.

Robinson said Kyle's business was chosen for the first GRABB MOBB of the year to help get the Eastown Cereal Bar get off on the right foot after opening earlier this month. 

"I really appreciate them actually coming here and just supporting and showing love to just another Black-owned business that's in the making," Kyle said. 

Kyle has dreams of expanding the cafe to other cities, and possibly other states in the future. 

"For everybody that's my age or even older," Kyle said. "It doesn't really matter who you are just please, please reach for your goals and do not stop, don't stop for anybody. Don't think you're doing something so simple, so small, so big. Just be able to take it and learn from it and just keep growing."

Credit: GRABB

Eastown Cereal Cafe is also hiring currently, click here to learn more. 

Click here to learn more about GRABB.

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