Black Business Spotlight: Forreal Coffeehouse

Photo by Ashley Lauren (l-r) Billy Jones and Disney Foote

Real estate coffeehouse’ opens at George Floyd Square

Business partners Disney Foote and Billy Jones own Forreal Coffeehouse, a new “real estate coffeehouse” located in South Minneapolis on 38th & Chicago, otherwise known as George Floyd Square. They launched a soft opening in March 2022. 

The owners actually met 10 years ago before deciding to launch a business together. Now, they are social entrepreneurs on a mission to manifest positive change in the community. “We’re actually a real estate coffeehouse, so it’s two businesses in one,” Foote explained. 

Foote handles “the real estate brokerage side.” She said, “My family’s brokerage is based out of Brooklyn Park, which is America’s Realty Group, so my dad has been in real estate all my life. I’ve always been with the family business.” 

Foote obtained her real estate license in 2015. She noted that Jones is more well-versed in tech. He graduated in ‘08 from Central State University (HBCU) in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he obtained a degree in computer science. Right now, Jones is also working on his real estate license. 

“I’ve been a broker since 2018,” Foote said, “so we’re creating a space [where] people can come and expect to have a collaborative conversation about money, finances, financial literacy, tech, anything.” The owners aspire to create an “open dialogue environment” where everyone is welcomed.  

The entrepreneurs want the community to enjoy their coffee and learn about real estate. “We have an internship program I launched years ago. I describe it as an inside-out real estate journey,” Foote said. 

Internship participants would have an opportunity to “work in the coffeehouse, network, learn real estate, learn if it’s even for you, and then connect on deals, working with real agents until you become an agent,” Foote said. 

She elaborated, “So, the whole objective is to lead people into a space where their barista is also their local real estate expert.” They hope to help people learn about real estate and provide proper guidance while they enjoy a cup of coffee. 

Asked about the most popular drink on the menu, Jones said, “Tangy Wake-Up,” which is named after a local artist and food critic by the name of “Tangy G.” Jones described the drink as “something that gives you the energy you need, but easy to digest—it’s smooth.” 

Jones has extensive knowledge and expertise in brewing up the best coffee and beverages. He used to work as a barista during his high school years. “He’s also an amazing barista,” Foote said. “It’s not a game—he’s really good.” 

Foote added, “We’re very serious about the quality of the coffee, but also the quality of the experience is equally important.” The unique coffeehouse can be described as “a space to collaborate and make change,” she said. 

The owners are thrilled to provide space where individuals can come together to communicate and make moves. Jones said, “Outside of just talking about it, just kind of really figuring out how to accomplish the goal—figuring out the problem and what steps does it take, and that’s what Disney is good at.” 

The George Floyd memorial site is directly in front of the coffeehouse, and the owners are happy to be in the neighborhood. Foote said, “I told Billy I haven’t been here since June, since the protests. Then we got the keys on March 1, so to see this right here when people are taking trips, tourists from all around the world,” is quite surprising. 

She added, “They [some tourists] don’t actually care about the community or real problem, they just want their little moment—are we going to lynching sites, is that a thing?” Their goal as business owners is to focus on adding value to the neighborhood.

Most importantly, “Our objective is to bring life back to the square and to the Minneapolis area, because obviously since the riots, things are not sustained,” Foote said. As a result, she is motivated to invest in the neighborhood and get the community involved. 

Jones said, “Even with bringing this around to the Spokesman [Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder], my grandma was really good friends with Launa Newman (R.I.P.), so when I grew up, all my grandma referenced was that this was an all-Black neighborhood.” 

He added, “We wanted to feel what this neighborhood was like before though, especially on 38th Street, when you look at the PBS documentaries.” 

So far the real estate coffeehouse has been well-received by the community, and they are grateful for the outpouring of support. The owners are paying it forward with advice for youth and budding entrepreneurs. 

“Whatever you envision, if God puts a vision in your head, then you can do it. The sky is really the limit,” Jones declared. He added, “God is developing you.”

Foote added, “Life is just going to keep repeating the same messages—and if you just read between the lines of our life experiences, individually, who you are today is just reflective of the thing that came to you when you were eight. So just stay connected and self-aware.” 

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