This creative space brings together artist, musicians, entrepreneurs, and community members from all walks of life.
By Megan Reed
There’s a new coffee shop in downtown Inglewood, right on Market Street. But this isn’t the run-of-the-mill coffeehouse. Sip & Sounder is a cultural center that promotes art, music, heath & wellness, business, and lifestyle.
Co-owners Shanita Nicholas, Ashley Newby, and Amanda-Jane Thomas are opening the coffee shop to allow people from various walks of life to express themselves and share their ideas under one roof.
“Sip & Sonder is an existence of the Black lifestyle, essentially housed in a coffee shop,” Nicholas said. “We offer a space for creative people, entrepreneurs, or anyone who wants to come in and grab a cup of coffee.”
Sip & Sonder’s soft opening is on February 8, and the space is already serving the community. This past January, the Los Angeles Black Investors Club held their Black Business Pitch Competition, where entrepreneurs were able to showcase their innovative products, technologies, and services.
Later that week, The.WAV, which is a group of musicians who’s mission is to connect and empower diverse voices through music and art, and bridge the gap between African Americans and Africans, held the Afrohaus Brunch. The event was a musical journey across the African diaspora.
“We envision all type of events,” Newby said. “That’s why we’ve created it to be kind of a blank canvas for a lot of things. So when people walk into this space, they can see their dream unfold.”
This specialty coffee shop will serve cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos. They are sourcing their coffee from Red Bay coffee, which is a Black owned coffee shop in Oakland that roasts their own coffee.
“They are very specialized in what they are producing and how their coffee tastes,” Nicholas said. “And quality is extremely important to us.”
Many people use coffee shops as a workspace, but interaction with other people is typically limited.
“When you do go into other coffee shops, and people have their headphones on, that’s them doing what they need to do to finish what they’re doing,” Newby said. “But I feel like here, people are going to want to take their headphones off to hear what other conversations are going on. To maybe meet other people to spark ideas. Whether it’s telling what their story is, or what they’re working on, or getting advice or hearing a conversation that sparks an idea for them to do something. The environment and culture that we’re creating inside this coffee shop is so that people are going to engage, opposed to disconnecting and being in their own pod. People walk in here to connect.”
Even though interaction is promoted at Sip & Sonder, it is still a great place for working people who do not have time to interact with others.
“Sometimes people have to get things done, but even if you use your headphones in this space, just by being here, you’re connected to the community,” Nicholas said.
This month there will be a panel discussion about how people of color can stay true to their culture while working in corporate America. During NBA All-Star Weekend, there will be a discussion about the ways that sports and business intersect.
In the near future, Sip & Sonder will open a full service recording studio.