Backatown

Black Entrepreneur Spotlight Series

 

Backatown

 

We would greatly appreciate it if you could tell us a little about your company.

 

Backatown is a black-owned coffee boutique designed to reflect the unique personality and charm of old Storyville on historic Basin Street. There is something for everyone here. In addition to premium coffee and espresso drinks, the boutique also serves loose leaf teas, juice, fresh baked pastries and desserts along with an assortment of light fare meals for families to enjoy.  Backatown was established in 2017 and has been

a major contribution to the revitalization of Basin Street as a major tourist destination and a local gathering house where one can hear the sounds that made Basin Street famous.

We are not Uptown, not quite Downtown but Backatown! You can experience authentic New Orleans only a block from St. Louis Cemetery, Canal Street, Rampart Streetcar line, and 2 blocks from the New Orleans Welcome Station. Backatown is proud to be a part of the reawakening of businesses along Basin Street as there’s always something brewing Backatown.

What was your child hood aspirations?

 

As a child, I always wanted to be an attorney mainly to bring needed services to the black community, says Backatown owner Jessica Knox. I became an attorney working on behalf of children in need of assistance but I also learned that I could help my community in other ways and this is where the desire to place quality businesses in urban environments arose.  Alonzo Knox chimes in “I always wanted to build wealth through business ownership and in that pursuit I secured an MBA which eventually lead to opening Backatown Coffee Parlour with my wife.”

 

Can you give our readers a quick answer on business advice?

Invest upfront in your business. Do not wait until you turn a profit. Gamble on yourself in the beginning as 1st impressions are lasting impressions for customers. 

 Know your strengths and do that. Do not try to be everything when that does not come naturally. Jessica is a strategist, numbers, details type of person but she is not fond of the day in & out interaction with customers. Alonzo is very people oriented and loves interacting with customers on a daily but abhors the paperwork aspect.

Although they both can do each others’ jobs on a short term basis, putting them in roles that do not play to their strengths would be disastrous for the business; so, they learn to appreciate what the other brings to the table and play to their strengths. They also get outside help when needed.

 

What was your toughest challenge?

 

Our toughest challenge by far is figuring out how to work full time jobs while operating a business. We would not advise this. If you have an opportunity to leave your 9 to 5 and concentrate on your business that would be optimal.  We still work full time for other companies while working full time at our coffee shop.
Owners: Jennifer and Alonzo Knox

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