For many small businesses, adjusting to a new normal in the midst of COVID-19 means finding new ways to do business and get back to business. In August, we delivered the first three Back2Business grant awards to three Black-owned small business merchants. One of those grant recipients was Brown Butter, owned and operated by Myriam Nicolas.
When Myriam decided to open an elevated café experience there was no question about where it would be located. “I live in this community and I wanted to create something for Bed-Stuy. I wanted my place to feel like an extension of my home and for the people who come here to be comfortable.” Three years ago, Myriam opened Brown Butter, a craft coffee bar and café that one reviewer called, “The biscuit mecca of the world.”
Since its launch, Brown Butter has become a neighborhood staple. When COVID-19 forced many businesses to shut down, Brown Butter and its staff also felt the impact. “The worst part was having to temporarily lay off my staff with no certainty as to when or if we would return.” Brown Butter has 10 employees and every one of them lives in the neighborhood. Myriam also partners with local organizations who serve at-risk youth to offer internships and jobs. The café has had 10 interns over three years, and several have stayed on as employees.
Myriam believes that businesses like Brown Butter can play a crucial role in the economic recovery. “When small businesses thrive, their communities’ also benefit. We’re able to do outreach and serve kids right here in our neighborhood.” Myriam says the grant will help her to keep the doors open and reemploy staff and ensure that Brown Butter remains a cornerstone of the community. “This will definitely help to keep Brown Butter right here in Bed-Stuy.”
Read our introductory post Getting Back2Business for a broader look at the initiative, why we’re doing it, and how to get involved.