Monday, June 15, 2009

The Herald Sun Announces Our New Home

A big thank you goes out to Ms. Monica Chen with the Herald Sun for reporting an update on Beyu Caffe. Feel free to check the article out directly from the Herald Sun, or you can simply read the article below.

We are almost there! A couple of months to go before we are all toasting a glass of champagne in celebration of a new coffeehouse in downtown Durham.
After Search, Beyu Caffe Finds a Home in the Snow Building
BY MONICA CHEN : The Herald-Sun

DURHAM -- The 3,000 square feet inside the Snow Building's first floor is just a shell.

Bare floors, exposed columns and piping fill the empty space, but Dorian Bolden can already see Beyú Caffé alive inside, filled with people, conversation and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

"It's going to look great. It's going to feel great," he said.

Bolden has been working towards opening his coffeehouse/jazz lounge for more than a year. At the start of 2009, he secured financial backing. Now, months later, he has finally signed a lease for a location and done substantial work on the design of the café.

The décor will have an Art Deco theme that's in perfect keeping with the history of the Snow Building, a distinctive building in the city center that was built in 1933 -- featuring a Gothic roofline and a manually operated elevator.

The café, located at 335 W. Main St. off to the side of the building's main entrance, will have 80 seats, tile flooring and soft seating, with a retail component directly in front of the entranceway and the dining and bar off to the right. Space for musicians and poetry readings will be to the right and front of the restaurant.

Alicia Hylton-Daniel, an interior designer with HagerSmith Design in Raleigh, has picked teal, yellow and burgundy as the color scheme, offering a dark and rich contrast to the stark white and neutrals of Revolution restaurant and the fresh minty green of Toast.

The space had been a furniture store and then a bagel shop, and Hylton-Daniel, a Durham resident who has had her eye on the Snow Building's Gothic look for some time, said she jumped at the chance to work on the space.

"Beyú will be its own unique spot," she said.

Signing a lease and beginning the design and construction of the space was the second big hurdle toward opening the restaurant, Bolden said. The first is raising the capital, which was $500,000 for Beyú. The third milestone will be to finally see it become profitable.

Beyú started as a dream for Bolden when he was working in financial services in New York in 2004. In the past five years, he has quit the banking industry, gotten his hands dirty working at various cafés and eateries
in New York and Durham and finished a business plan.

In 2008, he began working on putting the business together full-time. So far, the business has already achieved some successes, including setting up a Web site ( and snagging the title of the official coffee of the Durham Performing Arts Center recently.

Bolden kicked off the design process in May and signed the lease later in the month. Construction is expected to begin this month, with an eye toward opening in mid-September. Hiring won't start until later, and Bolden said he expects the upfitting to cost $75-$80 per square foot.

He picked the Snow Building space partly because it was more financially feasible than other locations, and partly because of its proximity to Five Points and West Village.

"All those factors made this building stand out," Bolden said. "It would be able to capture more foot traffic."

Bolden had gotten in touch with Duane Marks, one of the developers of the Snow Building, through Duke University alumni connections.

Carey Greene, another partner on the building, acknowledged that restaurants are usually risky ventures and expensive to build out, but that Beyú was in keeping with the long-term vision for the space.

"The long-term vision had always been to have some kind of a retail business down there," he said. "It's going to put the building on the map more than it is right now."

Bolden said that picking the right team to work on the design was a critical element. Working with HagerSmith Design and Burke Design Group, both of Raleigh, Bolden's team includes engineer Ben Burke, decorator Hylton-Daniel, LEED-certified architect David Black and Barbara Bennett, a food service consultant.

Having Bennett on board helped a great deal, Bolden said, because she knew how to design the kitchen for maximum efficiency.

"If you don't have an efficient kitchen, you won't be able to succeed," Bolden said.

"I'm not a chef, but I like to think I'm a gifted businessperson," he added. "We wanted to make sure we don't get so encompassed in the design that we forget about the kitchen."

Bolden hopes to open the restaurant by mid-September.

"The day I can sit back is the day when I can say that we've broken even, paid back the investors and loans and seen it really become a community coffeehouse," Bolden said.

That third milestone will take a while in coming. Hopefully, Bolden said, they'll be able to break even two years from opening.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Putting a Vision on Paper

After meeting with several great architects, I have chosen to work with HagerSmith Design PA out of Raleigh, NC, as the company’s architectural and design firm. I will be working with Alicia Hylton-Daniel, Interior Designer and Durham resident, as the primary project manager and designer, in addition to Barbara Bennett, Food Service Consultant/Restaurant Designer, and David Black, Architect and LEED certified. I believe this three-person team will provide a great value for our concept and operations by specializing in both restaurant design and interior finishes. Together, they bring over 35 years of experience in restaurant and architectural design with interior finishes.

Together, we are finalizing the design phase of the project whereby I will receive full construction documents in a few weeks. Over the past 3 weeks, we have finalized our kitchen equipment list and overall floor plan, which includes the specific layout of our new space (i.e. kitchen and equipment, coffee and bar area, restrooms, seating area, etc.). Now we are working with an engineer to include the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical aspects of the restaurant so that we can bid the project to a contractor, and begin permitting with the city of Durham. Permitting will take approximately 2-3 weeks, and we anticipate starting construction by mid-July. We have 3 to 4 different contractors whom we will bid our project to.

The above photo is a visual rendering of our proposed concept standing at the right-side front entrance of the building. Now we simply have to implement this visual rendering into a physical space!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

After Wall Street, Alum finds drive in coffee biz (Duke University Chronicle Newspaper)

By: Julius Jones

When Dorian Bolden, Trinity '02, graduated from Duke, his future seemed promising. Degree in tow, Bolden headed to Wall Street and started his dream job at Bank of America, working in investment banking.

For two years, Bolden, the kid from the ATL, was living the life. Everything was great until a pair of unforeseen events in 2004-the death of his father and a merger by his employer-triggered a series of events that have led him back to the Bull City. Bolden left Wall Street and spent three years working in coffee houses and restaurants, hoping to find his passion instead of simply a career.

Bolden has returned to Durham ready to fulfill his dream of owning a coffee shop, Beyu Caffe. The "Caffe" shop, which will be located on Main Street, has a target opening date of September.

"After my father died and with everything that was going on at work, I was going through a rough period," Bolden said, reflecting on the origin of the shop's name. "When I was deciding what I wanted to do moving forward, my roommates would come to me and say 'be yourself' or 'be you,' so that is where the name comes from."

He added that the name is also his special homage to coffee and to the love of espresso he gained at an Italian coffee shop in New York City, called Si Caffe or "Yes Coffee."

Bill Kalkhof, president of Downtown Durham, Inc., said Beyu Caffe will join a long list of business and entertainment options downtown.

Both Kalkhof and Bolden said they hope Beyu Caffe will encourage students to come downtown and become more familiar with the city in which they live.

"With Beyu Caffe we are creating an atmosphere that we hope that Duke students will find attractive and exciting to come to," Kalkhof said. "You couldn't have said that seven years ago but you can say that now."

Bolden came back to Durham in 2005 because his girlfriend, now his wife, was in the city studying medicine. Originally, Bolden planned to move back to his home in Atlanta, but as he began doing research for his business proposal, he realized that Durham was the perfect place.

Even before returning to Durham, Bolden was confident he wanted to go into business for himself after watching his mentors at Bank of America, who were laid off as a result of the merger, begin their own businesses.

For three years, Bolden jumped from job to job, working everywhere from a coffee shop to a French restaurant, of which he became manager and learned the intricacies of running a restaurant. Along with the skills he had gained, Bolden's background in finance helped him in raising capital.

Bolden credits his Duke education, however, with increasing his management skills and discipline.

"It's so amazing how my Duke education prepared me for opening my business," Bolden said. "You never really realize how balancing school and organizations and working late into the night will help you as you try to manage your life."

Bolden said his Duke experience, however, left him unfamiliar with the city he now calls home.

"I did not see myself ever coming back to Durham," he recalled. "At Duke, we don't normally venture out into Durham. We might go to Ninth Street or Brightleaf [Square] on the other side, we might go to Erwin [Road], but that's about as far as we go."

The multicultural nature of Durham appealed to Bolden, who attended an all-black high school. Disappointed by the culture at Duke where students too often did not interact with their peers from differernt backgrounds, Bolden wanted to create a place where you, his customer, can be yourself-or Beyu.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our New Home

On May 21, 2009 Beyú Caffé officially signed a lease to occupy 335 West Main Street, the historic Snow Building. The Snow building was built in 1933 and is considered to be an excellent location in the heart of downtown Durham, also commonly known as “five-points” due to the crossings of Main Street, Chapel Hill Street, and Morris Street.

The most pertinent question is, When Do We Open? As it currently stands, we have a projected “soft” opening date in the month of September, with our Grand Opening following 1 to 2 weeks after successful training. The next immediate obstacles we face deal with (1) the completion of our construction documents over the next 2-3 weeks, (2) bidding our project out to multiple construction companies and selecting a General Contractor to build Beyú Caffé, and (3) moving through the permitting process whereby we get approval from the city of Durham to build our coffeehouse, followed by a final inspection. We anticipate starting demolition and construction by mid-July.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Official Coffee of DPAC

I am proud and honored to announce that in April, Beyú Caffé secured a partnership with the Durham Performing Arts Center as its Official Coffee provider. As a vendor and the official coffee provider of DPAC, the facility currently purchases and serves our signature blend, Heart & Soul, at the concession stands during performances and private functions. Each coffee sleeve attached to a cup of coffee proudly displays our company’s logo and the slogan, “Official Coffee of [DPAC logo]” underneath. This relationship provides excellent exposure as we continue to build our company’s brand throughout the downtown Durham and surrounding areas.

Needing to see how our coffee was served at DPAC, I decided to take my wife to the India Arie and KEM concert on Mother's Day to celebrate our new addition to the family this summer (it's a girl). First, Laura Izibor and Kem gave an AMAZING performance, but it was equally great to taste a great cup of coffee at DPAC that night (and I don't think I was biased). Maintaining a premium quality product is essential, and it's rewarding to know that our affiliation with DPAC reflects our level of high standards. My wife and I had a beautiful time that evening at DPAC; and if you love coffee, grabbing a cup of Heart & Soul will only enhance your DPAC experience.

Beyu Caffe's ongoing marketing efforts and partnership with the Durham Performing Arts Center will be instrumental with pushing its retail been business. The company looks to begin our monthly subscription service this summer. We are truly thankful to our customers who have supported our ongoing efforts.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Speaking at the Durham School of the Arts

You may remember that community service is an important aspect of our business model in order to be a good citizen in the Durham community. On March 17, 2009, Ms. Debora Surbrook, a teacher at the Durham School of the Arts, invited me to speak to her entrepreneurship class in hopes of providing both encouragement and practical knowledge to be an entrepreneur. It was a great event filled with energetic students who had lots of great questions and ideas!

I think the highlight of the day came when I asked them, "what is the most important thing an entrepreneur must have to be successful?" The students gave many good answers ranging from dedication, patience, work ethics, etc. But they seemed a bit surprised that I wouldn't agree to any of the 10+ answers they kept throwing at me. Finally they seemed to be growing somewhat annoyed by my disagreeing with them, so I told them about the importance of Passion. From every happy and successful entrepreneur ranging from Donald Trump to Oprah, from Bill Gates to any local entrepreneur in Durham, you will generally hear them all say the same thing: Do What You Love! I've learned that it is love and passion for what you're doing that will get you through the dark and tough times.

What's funny is that seeing aspiring entrepreneurs in high school is equally rewarding and inspirational to me. Not to mention it serves as a reminder that there is a younger generation of entrepreneurs just behind me, and they too are as energetic and passionate about their dreams. I simply enjoy being around dreamers who see the world as "what if..." and "why not...".

Thank YOU Ms. Surbrook's class for keeping me going!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beyu Caffe on National Public Radio

I just wanted to share the positive news about me (Beyu Caffe) being featured on National Public Radio's popular show, The State of Things with host Frank Stasio. You can access the audio file to listen to the show on NPR's website. However, just know they saved the best for last so I am interviewed towards the end of the broadcast (smile).

Sip Local Segment:

The Triangle's robust eat-local scene with its markets, grocers and farm-to-table restaurants means thoughtful consumers can know where their food is coming from. But what about their drinks? Is it possible to "sip local" when you're enjoying coffee, wine, tea or beer? Host Frank Stasio talks to Lex Alexander, founder of Wellspring Grocery and owner of 3Cups, about the past and future of the local-food movement in the Triangle. We'll also meet Dorian Bolden, a young, Durham-based coffee shop entrepreneur; Margo Knight-Metzger, head of the N.C. Wine and Grape Council; and Sean Wilson, a North Carolina brewer who successfully led the Pop the Cap movement to loosen state laws regulating beer.