Black-owned business Bingo: Allendale coffee shop supports community while seeking to survive pandemic

Black-owned business Bingo: Allendale coffee shop supports community while seeking to survive pandemic

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Three months after opening in Shreveport’s Allendale neighborhood amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Neef’s Coffee is looking for ways to bring in more customers while helping support other Black-owned businesses.

Owner Shika Sims knows they took a chance when they opened the shop on Milam Street back in October, but the family was led by faith and a desire to support the neighborhood through “culture, community, family, and coffee.”

Coronavirus cases have spiked locally and statewide since then, following holiday gatherings that contributed to the spread. Sims believes that is keeping a lot of potential customers away in spite of the precautions taken in the shop to limit the risk of spread. She credits the survival of the family business so far to those who have come in, as well as support from local and community leaders. But the pandemic is not going away anytime soon.

That’s why Sims has teamed up with other Black-owned businesses to kick off Black History Month with a game of “Black Wall Street Bingo, Louisiana Edition.”

Customers can pick up bingo cards at Neef’s that suggest a series of activities support the community, either through a donation to a local non-profit or the purchase of services or products offered by a Black-owned business. Prizes range from a large coffee and pastry from Neef’s to a free family night at Fun Zone.

The point, Sims says, is to celebrate Black history and encourage our customers, friends, and family to patronize Black businesses within the community.

“This area where we are planted is full of Black history. Martin Luther King walked this street. We are going to celebrate just by telling our story and encourage other people to play that bingo game and support other small black businesses,” Sims said.

Neef’s Coffee open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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