Crystall Blackwell, owner of From Scratch, her at-home cooking business, was featured at Drip coffee shop in Five Points as part of a promotion to showcase women in the cooking business.
A local Columbia coffee shop is promoting the work of female chefs and bakers with a unique monthly series.
On the first Monday of every month, Drip coffee shop closes its kitchen and turns over its food counters to women who run small baking business. The series is called “Season of Women.”
“One of the roles of a coffee shop is to provide a platform for people to express themselves and to grow their own community,” said Drip owner Sean McCrossin. The shop is located on Saluda Avenue in the Five Points entertainment district.
This month, Crystal Blackwell, the shop’s featured baker, sold her popular sourdough cinnamon rolls and other sweets. In April, the series will feature Kiss My Grits Cafe.
Blackwell said that social media has helped her expand her business, which she runs out of her home. She also runs a booth at Soda City, the Saturday market in downtown Columbia. Her sourdough cinnamon rolls sell out quickly because they are “such a unique product,” Blackwell said.
“It’s so funny how different sides of town, even several miles apart, there’s just a whole different crowd of people. It’s just exposure to new folks,” Blackwell said.
The pandemic has hit small businesses hard. While Drip Coffee makes no profit from allowing businesses to sell out of their its shop, Drip owner McCrossin and other small retail and food businesses say there is an ongoing effort to support local businesses in the aftershocks of the pandemic.
“It is the small businesses that help provide the space and place for people to express themselves and generally give back to community,” McCrossin said. “It’s not just another number.”
Blackwell’s at-home business, From Scratch, not only benefits from this mindset but also provides customers easy pickup. Blackwell said her business has been good for supplemental income since starting in 2014.
“It’s a huge blessing that I sell out every weekend,” Blackwell said, who started a porch pick-up system during the pandemic. “I’m just super thankful that they were willing to do that, it was a reason to get outside of the house.”
McCrossin, hopes the support for local businesses will continue as economic conditions improve.
“We are a short-sighted society; we look for the immediate fix a lot of times,” McCrossin said. “But I do think when people are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try a new place, they can surprise themselves.”