Robbie Wilkerson and his daughter Destiny have opened Chicago’s newest Black-owned coffee shop in the Austin neighborhood of the city. It’s called Urban Essentials Coffee Cafe and they aim to bring something positive to the community and provide healthier options.
The Wilkersons grew up near the cafe’s location and invested $65,000 to make it happen. Robbie, who also works as the youth director for the Westside Health Authority, wants the coffee shop to boost the local economy and inspire others to invest in the neighborhood.
“All these building vacancies to me says there’s not a lot of money circulating within the community,” Robbie told Block Club Chicago. “I’m one man, but it is my effort to create a new economic drive for our community. We hope we can inspire others to build, as well.”
Meanwhile, his daughter Destiny, a 22-year-old student at the College of DuPage, manages the cafe’s five employees. The idea to open the shop came after meeting with Malcolm Crawford, who heads the Austin African American Business Networking Association.
Last December, they already began building the space and finally had its soft opening on Juneteenth. They offer a variety of drinks like coffee, cappuccinos, blended beverages, and tea, as well as cakes, muffins, sandwiches, and wraps. Before the grand opening, they plan to make some upgrades to the cafe’s lighting.
The coffee shop is already seeing early success with a steady flow of customers from nearby nonprofits and the church community. Both Robbie and Destiny are excited about the cafe’s progress and look forward to creating a positive impact in their community.
Be sure to follow the shop on Instagram @Urban_Essentials_CoffeeCafe
Also, support the business by going to its location at 5300 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL