DAYTON, Ohio — A new business is opening up shop, but this one is helping grow other businesses and students who want to own one. 

What You Need To Know

  • "Start Up Grounds" opens inside "The Arcade" in downtown Dayton 

  • The shop is not only selling their food and coffee but features food from up-and-coming business owners who are underrepresented

  • The shop teamed up with student entrepreneurs to get the doors open 

It might seem like just a small coffee shop, but for Gerald and Clarece Richardson, it’s what they’ve been dreaming about.

“It’s just a great feeling to know that we’re open finally, and just get to bring something to the city and the retail space, because we’ve been in wholesale and the catering market for so long,” said Gerald.

The couple has worked in catering for the last seven years, but they have their own storefront, Startup Grounds, in downtown Dayton. 

But inside their coffee shop, is not just food and drinks they make, but what other start-up food companies are making, too. 

“We have vegan cookies from 'Bless Me Sweets,'" said Clarece.

​Jaqueline Neal, President & CEO of the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC), explains the nonprofit's purpose to certify, develop and connect minority business enterprises, building partnerships with corporations and government entities.

It’s all a part of a plan to help underrepresented businesses become more than a start-up. 

“As a Black couple working to grow our business, we had to find those opportunities and create them, so now that we’ve learned how to reach some of those things, we wanna bring that back to other businesses,” said Clarece.

The couple also has a whole team of students who want to be business owners backing them and helping keep the doors open.

“Much of the work that we’re doing is gonna be the back end operation so we’ll be doing the accounting, the marketing, we helped set up the point of sale system, we helped order the equipment,” said University of Dayton student Carolyn Haney. 

Haney is also leading Flyer Enterprises, a student-run business to help.

“Hopefully as things go well here and we kind of feature all of those vendors, we’ll be able to bring them on campus and give them more of a platform," said Haney.

For the Richardsons, this is just the beginning of what they hope will spark even more business.

“Walking with the right people, growing the right partnerships, all of that matters, and you’re gonna face obstacles, but it can be done,” said Clarece.