Houston roastery among hundreds selected nationally for Black business grant

Several Black-owned businesses in Houston have been awarded grant funding and mentorship to help them with marketing, paying down debt, or purchasing inventory.

Three Keys Coffee on Foster Street is of those businesses receiving support from the Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB).

For Tio and Kenzel Fallen, the idea of starting a roastery in 2019 was music to their ears.

Tio has played the trumpet for more than 20 years.

“It was a big part of my life, and so I wanted to take that and put it into my adult passion which is like my love for coffee and coffee culture,” Tio said.

The married couple came up with the name ‘Three Keys Coffee’ because the valves on the instrument struck a chord.

“Our business is very much a celebration of culture. Specifically, jazz culture,” Kenzel said. “So we have playlists that we curated that match each of our coffees.”

Three Keys sources raw coffee beans that they roast for local restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores.

They also sell online.

It’s one of six black small businesses in Houston given a $5,000 grant by the CBBB.

There were 324 selected nationally for the grant and mentorship. The coalition was created in 2020 to support businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“Without that, it’s really hard to get going and build momentum. Otherwise, you’re taking out loans and debt to do the things that you want to do,” Tio said.

Kenzel said the grant also helps with production and employing staff and keeping their business afloat.

The Fallens said previous grants they received have helped them solar power their business, which they hope to expand in the future with a coffee shop.