During Starbucks Controversy, Black-Owned Coffee Chain in Sacramento Sees Increase in Community Support

SACRAMENTO -- While the controversy in Philadelphia has caused problems for Starbucks nationwide, one Sacramento coffee shop tells FOX40 it's had the reverse effect for them.

Tiferet Coffee House is black-owned, a fact the owners say has gotten them lots of calls of support and some new customers.

Along with her sister, Makeda Berhane owns and operates all three Tiferet Coffee House locations in Sacramento.

"We came into it as a business venture of sisters and we have expanded three stores in less than four years," Berhane said.

Beginning first at their H Street location, Berhane soon opened a coffee cart in the lobby at City Hall. Just seven months ago their newest location opened at Mercy Medical Plaza on J Street. Each location offers food and coffee from other local businesses.

Berhane says she, her sister and staff have always prided themselves on customer service.

"Anybody who walks in the door is a guest and we treat them as family, and so we believe that's how everybody should be treating their customers, and unfortunately in Philadelphia that's not what a gentleman experienced," she said.

Berhane says that backlash Starbucks is now facing after a viral video of two black men being arrested in Philadelphia while waiting to meet someone has led to more support from the community for her business.

"We have been getting phone calls, we have been getting emails," Berhane said. "People have reached out to us in numerous ways just thanking us for being who we are, providing the service that we are, and we've had a surge, especially at our H Street location, of the community's support, coming in to thank us."

But she says it's not just because her business is black-owned, but because of the hospitality Tiferet shows everyone -- even non-paying customers.

"I invite people in just to have a space to work, whether they buy something or not. And ultimately they do just because of the hospitality," Berhane said.

Still, the bathroom at their H Street location is marked for customers only. However, Berhane says that's only enforced when someone abuses their generosity.

"We give everybody the benefit of the doubt until they give us a reason not to," she told FOX40. "And once they do, then we know who those people are and we politely tell them they're no longer able to use our facilities."