Running a business is challenging these days. Running a woman-owned business could be even more challenging. So how about running multiple woman-owned businesses? A daunting task for some, a day’s work for Cove Lounge’s Alyah Horsford-Sidberry.
Real estate is Horsford-Sidberry’s primary business and her restaurant, Cove Lounge, located a stone’s throw away from the old Lenox Lounge and practically across the street from another Harlem staple, Sylvia’s, is turning 2, so she has reason to celebrate.
On the verge of celebrating, BlackEnterprise.com spoke with Horsford-Sidberryabout her many years in the real estate business, her Harlem eatery, and why she continues doing business in one of the epicenters of black culture and commerce.
BlackEnterprise.com: You are one of the few black female owners of restaurants/lounges in Harlem, what are your thoughts on that and do you think that number will increase anytime soon?
Alyah Horsford-Sidberry: As a small business owner in Harlem, a challenge which can put you out of business or prevent you from starting is your lease options. Commercial rents have gone up considerably in Harlem. I don’t see the number increasing in a large scale due to the limited available commercial space and the price point. However, those with strong financial backing or property owners will have the most success. However, Harlem has a fair share of female restauranteurs, some of longstanding, others relative newcomers. There is Sylvia’s, the Queen of Soul Food; Melba’s; Norma Darden’s of Spoonbread; and Settepani’s owner Leah Abraham.
You are part-owner of Horsford & Poteat Realty, a real estate company based in New York, what made you decide to make the jump from real estate to the restaurant business and how has the transition been?