First Black Owned Micro-Winery & Bookstore in PA

American rapper/revolutionary/poet, Tupac Amaru Shakur, wrote an autobiographical poem titled, “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” and it reads: 

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from a crack in concrete when no one else even cared.”

The concrete, a seemingly harsh environment; cold, hard and rough, nurtured the rose to see full bloom. Despite the conditions, the rose grew beautifully by believing it could.

The rose is Tupac, the rose is Lancaster City, the rose could be you but in this narrative, the rose is most definitely the co-owners of A Concrete Rose Book Bar, Evita Colon and Solise White.


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CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS

Hi! We’re Evita Colon and Solise White, Co-Owners of A Concrete Rose Book Bar! We are Black creatives with life missions to empower our community. Born and raised in Lancaster, PA, Evita is a creative entrepreneur, consultant, international poet among other multi-hyphenate creative skills and a mom. Solise is a native of Bronx ,NY, creative entrepreneur, choreographer, director and producer. As CEO and CCO of a creative arts agency, Speak to My Soul, we learned there is a lack of spaces for Black artists  to feel free to be themselves as they meet and create. Most importantly, there lacked spaces that gave our artists the opportunity to showcase their work. We decided to create a solution and build that space. With Lancaster, PA's strides toward diversity and inclusion and booming art scene, we felt this space is the missing piece needed to include the Black community, our community, into the narrative. Representation Matters! The city has made a lot of progress but we still have a long way to go!

What better way to learn about our culture and history than reading books by black authors? It was a no brainer to create a space like A Concrete Rose Book Bar! We learned black culture, books, performing arts and wine weren’t just something that we found interesting; it was a shared interest of many of our friends and supporters. As excitement grew of this space, we were motivated to make this happen. Thus, further making A Concrete Rose Book Bar another chapter of our story and hopefully, with your help, it will also be a part of yours!

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BOOKSTORE | URBAN WINERY | VENUE

A Concrete Rose Book Bar merges the business concepts of a bookstore, urban winery and live entertainment venue under one roof. The bookstore will feature books and art created by authors and artists of the African diaspora providing the community with the opportunity to learn about our culture through the immersion of our literature and art. As performing artists, we aim to provide the community with a place to freely express themselves and showcase their work on a regular basis. The inclusion of wine intersects a sophisticated experience with a casual experience giving our space a unpretentious vibe. And GUESS WHAT?

We will be making our OWN wine!

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DOING THE WORK


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So far, we've invested our time and personal income to developing and training ourselves in this industry:

We've read and studied books and countless articles on wine making, wine pairings, business operations and bookselling.
We've studied the PLCB laws to have an understanding of the licenses and permits we will need for operation in Pennsylvania.
We've attended Economic and Business conferences to understand the economic impact of our business in our community.
Evita has taken an ASSETS idea incubator course to learn how to develop our idea into a feasible and sustainable business.
Obtained SCORE business mentors for guidance creating a strong business plan and sustainable business model ( we try to meet at least once/twice a month)
Began taking classes to learn how to make wine and brew craft beer (it was a cool add-on class)
We've acquired mentorship from current bookstore owners and business owners with similar business models (ie. black bookstores, wine & beer boutique, restaurant)
Attended community events and met with community organizations/leaders about our intentions gaining the support of the community.
Traveled to businesses similar to ours to speak with the owners/employees about running a successful business while having a positive impact on the community.  (Traveled to Washington DC, Philadelphia and NYC)
Met with a real estate agent, toured various properties around the city and selected a property that best fits our vision.
Drafted a LOI (Letter of Interest) for the property
Had a contractor view and estimate property build out
Created a visionary sketch of our location and met with a designer to create a formal CAD design
Hosted a SUCCESSFUL sample event in the community promoting our themes of literature, culture and expression.
Created a calendar with monthly events scheduled for the Book Bar
Created an AMAZING TEAM to help us see this vision through!
Toured wine facilities and (our favorite part) participated in wine tastings.
Created a website (Official Website)
Filed and obtained our EIN
Created a logo for our business
Created and continue to build our social media following (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
Launched an Indiegogo campaign in March but COVID-19 hit and we had to put our fundraiser on pause. We raised $549.00 which was enough to file for our trademark through the US Trademark and Patents Office

We will need $250,000 to open our doors.


Whew! We know it seems like a lot but things really have way of adding up. We cut a lot of costs by doing the work ourselves but some things we just can't get around.

START UP COSTS

Build out for a 2,600 sq ft property  = $180,000 (Includes construction costs+materials to meet coding requirements. Also includes equipment.)
Opening inventory = $30,000 (wine, craft beer, books, ancillary items)
Marketing = $5,000 (advertisement, website management, stationary) 
Furniture/Fixtures=$20,000 (Includes the bar, staging and couches/tables/chairs)
Permits/Licensing= $15,000
GoFundMe acquires 8% of funds raised + 30 cents per contribution (includes platform and credit card fees)

Reaching our goal will help us reach our target opening date in 2021. We originally aimed for 2020; however, with unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic, we decided we will push back the date to prepare us for the new norms of operating a business today.

IMPACT: A SOLUTION

A Concrete Rose Book Bar  is a business that reflects the history and culture of the African Diaspora that will make our patrons feel welcomed and embraced. In addition to selling amazing wine and food pairings, the space will also provide its patrons with events that will connect and empower people from all walks of life. With experience in creating programming for various age groups and people of all backgrounds, we are sure to bring fun, entertaining and educational programming that will evoke needed conversations to push our community forward.

With 6+ years of professional experience in the performance arts industry and as event consultants, we have an understanding of what it takes to engage the community and keep our customers interested.

With recent uprisings and unrest due to fighting the injustices that plague the black community, we were able to learn more about the needs of the black community in Lancaster, PA. Many have expressed there is a need for a space to safely gather in celebration, conversation and/or education. We feel A Concrete Rose Book Bar will answer that call. Not only will this space contribute to the economic wealth of the black community, it will cultivate an experience of which will amplify black voices and art.

Other Ways You Can Help

We understand everyone isn't able to contribute monetary donations; however, we appreciate everyone spreading the word about our campaign and initiative!


Share on social media using our HASHTAG:

#LANCLITAROSE

Donations

 See top
  • Anonymous 
    • $300 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 4 d
  • Channel Lowery 
    • $40 
    • 4 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $46 
    • 15 d
  • The Mindfulness Bridge 
    • $50 
    • 17 d
See all

Fundraising team: Rosebud Tribe (5)

Evita Colon 
Organizer
Raised $2,325 from 64 donations
Lancaster, PA
Solise White 
Team member
Raised $325 from 11 donations
Alicia Meadows 
Team member
Raised $295 from 4 donations
LaCole Harris 
Team member
Tawny Threats 
Team member
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