ABOVE: Darryl Montgomery and Orgena Keener
This past Saturday, Feb. 24, Wells Fargo honored Orgena Keener, owner of Kaffeine Coffee Internet & Office Café, during a special Community Builders event celebrating African American entrepreneurs and encouraging support of small business.
Throughout the month of February, Wells Fargo visited local communities to highlight African American small business owners who go above and beyond to better their neighborhoods, and who are Community Builders who impact not only the lives of their customers, but the lives of everyone in their community.
Orgena was a finalist of the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Neighborhood Renovation Program Contest that the Forward Times highlighted and promoted from May 1–June 16 of 2017. Small business owners in designated Houston neighborhoods/ZIP codes were invited to enter the contest by completing a contest application, and writing an essay responding to four questions about their business on wellsfargoworks.com/renovation. Four other cities – Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami and Minneapolis – were also selected to participate in the contest, with each city having its own four local winners for a total of 20 winners.
“Wells Fargo is honored to name Orgena as a winner in the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Neighborhood Renovation Program Contest,” said Darryl Montgomery, Houston regional president, Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo has a long history of focusing on outreach and building strong relationships with small business owners to help them succeed financially, and we are excited to support Orgena through this program and look forward to seeing how the contest helps her business take the next step toward her goals.”
Orgena was the recipient of $10,000 to help with interior renovations to her business that is located in Houston’s historic Third Ward off of Almeda near Southmore. Through Wells Fargo’s renovation program, she has been able to update her open-floor layout and kitchen appliances. Wells Fargo team members also even helped stain the patio deck, as well as the benches and counter inside. Such upgrades will help Orgena get one step closer toward becoming a 24-hour coffee location.
A Houston native, Orgena’s business model includes three key ingredients: good deeds, good spirits and good coffee. Over the years, she’s helped to build a neighborhood coffee shop that her community and local college students can count on. Today, her clientele has grown to include international visitors. Kaffeine Coffee & Internet Café provides a friendly place for the diverse community it serves to meet and relax, and is a neighborhood cafe with a twist. On top of delicious food and unique beverages, the cafe has office supplies and computers available for local students to use for homework assignments free of charge. The cafe honors veterans daily, has daily specials for seniors and students, and offers free delivery to hospice care.
Every day, Orgena gives new meaning to the phrase “serving the neighborhood.”
Saturday’s Community Builders celebration was filled with much love and support for Orgena, as family, friends and customers came out to show her support. Uncle Funky Larry Jones and the crew from Majic 102FM did a live remote from her location and local artists Susan Carol and Tobe Nwigwe helped entertain the crowd, while guests got an opportunity to sample some of Kaffeine Coffee & Internet Café’s treats and famous coffee.
Wells Fargo has a history of supporting small businesses with programs like Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Neighborhood Renovation Program and Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital. The Diverse Community Capital program, established in 2015, provides capital to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that serve diverse small businesses. CDFIs provide technical assistance, financial services, mentoring, and other resources for diverse small businesses that may not qualify for conventional bank loans.
Concerning the contest, a panel of judges, including Houston-based judges, reviewed the entries and selected one Grand Prize-winning business to receive up to $25,000 in business renovations, and three other businesses to receive up to $10,000 in business renovations. Wells Fargo launched the program in collaboration with Rebuilding Together, a premier nonprofit organization focused on rebuilding communities in need across the country. The Samuel Group, a multi-disciplinary architectural planning and design firm with offices throughout Texas, has agreed to contribute their services pro-bono as part of the contest.