Suffolk's newest cafe serves lessons in investing, Black history with every cup of coffee

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 14:37:23-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - Suffolk's newest cafe is serving a little knowledge with every cup of coffee.

Following a soft opening earlier this month, the grand opening for Wall Street Cafe on Washington Street is Saturday, October 24.

Area real estate brokers Domenick Epps and Danita Hayes are behind the new business, and want customers to leave having had a delicious coffee or sandwich, yes, but also something more.

"You're going to have great food to eat, great coffee, but you're also going to have great conversation and you're also going to be educated," said Hayes.

It starts with the name.

A mural inside Wall Street Cafe honors the famous home of New York finance while also paying tribute to Black Wall Street -- a name given to prosperous black communities in Durham, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma's Greenwood District in the early 20th century.

The latter was destroyed in violent, racially-motivated attacks in 1921.

"Most people talk about the massacre in 1921, which is something that needs to be spoken about, but we want to talk about the success. We want to talk about the 40 acres and the 600 businesses and the hospitals and the grocery stores," said Epps.

With that in mind, Epps, a Suffolk native, and Hayes, a Norfolk native, want their cafe to be a place where people can learn about investing, real estate and business.

The cafe has computers and TVs turned to various business and investment networks. There's a plan to offer classes in the near future.

"You come in on Monday's at 7 a.m. and get free [foreign exchange] training for those who are not familiar with what the forex market is. We also talk about stocks, of course real estate," said Epps.

Faces of successful businessmen and women, including Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Magic Johnson and more, decorate the place.

You'll find the likeness of Epps and Hayes too and upstairs -- a nod to the Saratoga and Norview communities that helped them get to where they are today.

"I think that when black little girls see me they see 'you know what, I can be a business owner. I can own a real estate company, I can own a cafe'," said Hayes. "It just gives them hope that there's more out there for you and I'm happy and excited that God gave me the opportunity to be a vessel."

It hasn't been easy building a new business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Epps tells News 3 the process started a year ago. He and Hayes received some help from the City of Suffolk in the form of a $15,000 economic development grant.

Now, they're ready to move forward with a new business aiming to bring people to Downtown Suffolk in search of a great cup of coffee, a new understanding of Black history and the knowledge to achieve financial success.