Rochester and Black-owned coffee bean seller ‘Bold & Gritty’ in top 10 finalists in The UPS Store national competition

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Bold & Gritty is a Rochester-based coffee company that sells single-sourced roasted beans, but they’re a coffee company with a twist.

Founder David Paul — a Black neurosurgeon — wanted to tell the stories of Black men, people who in Paul’s mind are don’t always have their stories told.

Their coffee is a vehicle for conversation: A story of a Black man succeeding through adversity comes with the coffee beans. Paul thought about how he’s had so many thoughtful conversations around coffee, and thought this was the perfect medium. They have also expanded into selling candles, journals, and other merch, all to promote a lifestyle they call “the bold and gritty life.”

But now, they’re both sticking to telling the stories of local Black men — as they are now armed with a grant called “ROCGrowth” that supports local artists — as well as entering a national competition.

Bold & Gritty is one of ten finalists in The UPS Store Small Biz Challenge. According to the company “(the contest) aims to find small business owners who think they have what it takes to compete in a live challenge competition where their business skills will be tested. At stake: a chance to win up to $25,000 and an editorial feature in Inc. magazine.”

“We would be able to overhaul our operations. We’d be able to tell inspiring stories in a much more creative fashion,” said Paul, when asked what would happen if they won.

But to get even get a chance to win the $25,000, they need fan votes to get the final five. Voting runs from June 7 through July 5. You can vote here.

Paul says not only will winning the competition improve their creative storytelling, but it will allow them to move into even more territories.

“One of my goals is to enter the ready to drink space,” Paul says. “So we’ve been starting to do sort of cold brews and other unique ready to drink options. And you can imagine, just the beautiful packaging with all these stories right (there).”

The company already sells candles and journals, in addition to coffee beans.

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