DENVER (CBS4)– Andri’Nae Rhymes is mastering her barista skills at the Strong, Smart & Bold Beans coffee shop at STEAM on the Platte. Her favorite drink to make is a latte and to work on her latte art.
Andri’Nae is a member of Girls Inc., a program for girls ages 6 to 20.
Girls Inc. CEO Sonya Ulibarri says, “Our programs really aim to provide girls with an opportunity to lead healthy lives, succeed academically, and become strong self-advocates and leaders in their community.”
Andri’Nae and a few of her friends came up with the concept of the coffee shop three years ago as part of a project to help the high school members of Girls Inc.
Ulibarri says, “We met with the girls about the type of businesses they were interested in and coffee was one of the top ideas we had from our girls, so we were able and really lucky to launch a business.”
She also says a coffee shop is the natural fit for this age group.
“So coffee shops was a really natural thing for the girls, especially high school girls to navigate towards. They have a place to hang out, products that they liked and we’ve been really lucky that we’ve developed some great partnerships with local coffee businesses.”
Their dream of an actual brick and mortar store took a few years of hard work and determination.
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Another founding member for Strong, Smart & Bold Beans is Yesenia Bonilla. She couldn’t believe her eyes at the sight of the new coffee shop.
She is now a college freshman, returning to help at the shop during her holiday break. She helped the business grow from a simple coffee table to a coffee cart at a local library to this brand new shop.
“Now we have plumbing and a dishwasher and a Panini press!” she exclaimed.
Yesenia started her Bold Beans career as a quiet girl, and she’s made a major transformation during her time at the shop.
“I’m very shy, so working at the coffee cart helped me get out of my shell a little bit more.”
Building relationships with her regular clients made her more confident.
“The coffee was like the segue, my way to get to the person but then the conversation I had with that person while they waited or I made their coffee was what helped me grow.”
It’s not just personal skills these young women are learning, financial literacy is a major part of the program as well.
Yesenia says, “We talked about managing our money like saving budgeting.”
The baristas are also required to take business classes through Girls Inc.
“So in addition to having paid, hourly jobs here at Bold Beans, girls also complete programming that really helps to round out that curriculum. So not only are they working in a job they are getting financial maturity on coursework, they’re working toward long-term financial goals, they’re thinking about businesses they want to run and they’re able to take that curriculum and apply to their jobs at bold beans,“ said Ulibarri.
With the goal of creating a new generation of women who are business savvy and smart entrepreneurs.
“It was fun to see how everything goes into money and making sure we have enough to make this place run.”
These young baristas are learning more than how to make the perfect latte, they are budding entrepreneurs ready to watch their business blossom.
“Every time we move up we’re growing a little bit and that’s also helping each group of new baristas to learn about business but they are also learning about how you grow that business and how they can grow with it.”
Strong, Smart & Bold Beans
1401 Zuni St, Denver, CO 80204
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.