Future Of Black-Owned Coffee Shop Is Bright Thanks To Rondo Community Land Trust

When Mychael and Stephanie Wright founded Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe in 2000, they were simply following the business advice of Mychael’s brother. Twenty-three years later, Wright’s Cafe is a community landmark in St. Paul, Minnesota, and it seems it’s here to stay.

According to Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the cherished coffee shop has been sold to the Rondo Community Land Trust and will be expanded into a Black-owned restaurant and food vendor incubator space. Under its new moniker, “Golden Thyme Presents,” businesses will be offered short-and long-term leases. Faced with a desire to start their next chapter, the Wrights were prepared to sell, and the land trust came forward to help them do so while not doing away with a community bedrock. “For us, it’s such a cultural gem, we couldn’t not step in to preserve it and create a plan to maintain the asset in [the] community,” said E. Coco, deputy director of the land trust. “On evenings and weekends, we already have pop-ups lined up that we’ll be discussing in the next several weeks.”

Sammy McDowell’s Avenue Eatery will reportedly be the first Minnesota business occupying space in Golden Thyme Presents.

According to Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the land trust seeks to restore Rondo’s uprooted Black middle-class community, which succumbed to the construction of Interstate 94 in the 1960s. “When I was a young girl, Rondo was a place of Black innovation, abundance, and joy — and I am fiercely committed to rebuilding the more than 300 businesses and 700 homes that were taken from our families,” said Mikeya Griffin, executive director of the Rondo Community Land Trust. “With the leadership of people like Mychael and Stephanie Wright, we’ve made incredible gains along Selby Avenue — but it’s just the beginning.” The Rondo Community Land Trust is the first in the state of Minnesota.