We Buy Black and SheaMoisture have teamed up to bring the culture the Black Business Relief Fund. After reviewing 3588 applications carefully, we have settled on 20 awardees, each who’ve been awarded a $5,000 grant. The first business is Akwaaba B&B Inns, an excellent business that is totally worthy of this honor.
Akwaaba is a collection of five historic B&Bs with 32 guest rooms on the East Coast–Washington, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Having been in business for 25 years, the company is expert in spoiling leisure and business travelers with modern-day amenities and old-fashioned hospitality. Akwaaba (which means “welcome” in a Ghanaian tongue) Inns also double as event and meeting venues. In addition, Akwaaba offers a branded line of home décor, personal accessories and culinary delights, which they sell online, along with curated African imports and items by African-American artisans.
Akwaaba has always been intentional about their work to preserve historic properties by converting them into inns, while helping to revitalize urban communities. The company is committed to hiring and training African-Americans to deliver outrageous service, as this family business creates a legacy for the next generation. The company’s commitment to excellence and service is apparent: Akwaaba ranks amongst the top 3 B&Bs in each of their markets on consumer-trusted Trip Advisor. The company is also the recipient of countless awards and honors and has been featured broadly in the media, including winning “Hotel Showdown,” a Travel Channel TV competition for hoteliers.
Akwaaba is committed to demonstrating the power and passion of Black-owned businesses. The company leads by example, tapping other likeminded entrepreneurs to provide the products and services needed to spoil their guests– spa therapy, event planning, catering and yoga instruction, just to name a few. Akwaaba properties are also available for artisans to display their wares and for startups to host launch events. In addition, the owner is committed to preparing the next crop of aspiring innkeepers in the community by hosting two summits annually to prepare them to enter the industry.
Akwaaba has always worked to keep its rates accessible for the masses. Given that their properties are located in areas with high taxes and overhead costs, margins have always been tight: COVID-19 hasn’t helped. The travel industry has been crippled and Akwaaba has been brought to a full stop. As a company that operates with a high level of integrity, they chose to return deposits to guests who needed to cancel reservations and events. As a result, the company has depleted their limited cash reserves. $5,000 represents more than a grant: for Akwaaba B&B Inns and owner Monique Greenwood, it’s a lifeline.