Cezar Pernell and Rod Johnson, founders of Blk & Bold, an Iowa-based Black-owned coffee and tea brand, have officially signed a major distribution deal with Whole Foods Market and Amazon. This makes them two of the first African American entrepreneurs in this particular industry to have their beverage products distributed nationally.
"The seemingly overnight shift of the retail landscape and store operations have no doubt impacted the flow of emerging brands entering and expanding in the market. This is also why the alliance with Whole Foods and other key retailers continues to showcase the support and belief in BLK & Bold as a coffee brand," co-founder and CEO Pernell Cezar told Black Enterprise.
Just two years ago, Cezar and his childhood friend Rod Johnson took a bold step and left their careers in higher education fundraising and retail merchandising to launch Blk & Bold. Since then, it has grown to a nationally-distributed coffee and tea brand.
Blk & Bold launched a test run in 15 locations of Whole Foods in mid-April and is set to continue its expansion to over 31 locations. Their products are also now available on Amazon.com since they launched their official Amazon storefront last month.
The brand offers different types of whole bean specialty coffees such as medium and dark roast blends, single-origin light roasts, and fair trade or direct trade sourcing integrity. Their product lineup also includes loose-leaf specialty teas in different flavors.
Moreover, the company is giving back to the community as it allocates 5% of its profits to donate to different non-profit organizations, including those that support homeless and at-risk youths.
"As our national and regional retailer partnerships grow, so do the opportunities for anyone to participate in supporting at-risk youth, the demographic in most need," said Johnson. "Creating a pathway for everyday consumers to become contributors to the most vulnerable communities is as personally fulfilling as it is motivating for Blk & Bold's growth.
For more information about Blk & Bold Specialty Beverages, visit BlkAndBold.com