The couple who revitalized a coffee business during the pandemic

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Husband and wife team of Keba and Rachel Konte revitalized and grew their coffee business during the pandemic by bringing it to the Amazon store.

Rachel, born and raised in Denmark, moved to the United States in 1993. Four years later, she met her husband-to-be, Keba, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, the two have built a life together, raising their two daughters and launching a business within the community.

Their coffee business Red Bay Coffee founded in 2014 was built through the support of family and friends and an initial crowdfunding campaign. For Keba, as an African American, owning his own business and succeeding holds deep value.

After quickly becoming a staple of the community with its tagline “Beautiful Coffee to the People,” Red Bay’s brick-and-mortar presence grew beyond just being another neighborhood coffee joint.  However, when COVID-19 struck in 2020, the community that Keba and Rachel cultivated was in jeopardy.

A lot of businesses were devastated, Ours was impacted heavily. We had to close down a lot of our shops. We had to reconnect with our customers in other ways. And the first and most direct pathway was through ecommerce.

– Keba Konte, Co-owner, Red Bay Coffee

For many small businesses, ecommerce became a lifeline in the wake of the pandemic. Keba and Rachel saw the pandemic as an opportunity to reach their existing customers in new ways, while also leveraging their selling partnership with Amazon to enable a much broader audience to discover Red Bay Coffee.

Like many of Amazon’s nearly 2 million selling partners, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, Red Bay pivoted to online sales and thrived, growing nearly 100% year over year from 2020 to 2021. Red Bay recently joined Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, a $150 million commitment to help build sustainable diversity and growth for Black entrepreneurs by enabling their success as sellers in Amazon’s store.

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