Raina Purvis comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it was almost expected that she’d have businesses of her own one day.
The New Jersey native moved to Charlotte in 1997 for a piece of corporate America, but once Purvis saw companies starting to lay off workers because of the recession, she knew it was time to do something else. It was time to bet on herself and tap into that entrepreneurial spirit.
“I see my parents not really struggle because of having businesses. That, of course, was the route I wanted to take,” she said, still holding on to a Jersey accent.
In 2008, she started a new career as a realtor. Years later, it was her knowledge of the city’s vacant listings that led her to 1720 Pegram Street. The site of an old barbershop nestled in Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood is now home to Purvis’ latest venture, Queen’s Coffee Bar.
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“I didn’t know anything about coffee other than drinking it all day long. I knew about meeting clients in coffee shops,” she laughed. “Being a realtor and seeing that there was a vacant building sitting here, I said that would be a great spot for a coffee shop.”
The coffee bar opened in November, and it has been a labor of love for Purvis. She manages to maintain her real estate business while operating Queen’s six days a week.
It seems like the hours of wearing multiple hats is paying off. The coffee bar is building a following, mainly through word of mouth and social media. Yelp and Facebook reviews talk positively about the menu, customer service and overall feeling of the space. And what’s a coffee shop without free Wi-Fi?
Those were areas of focus for Purvis, remembering her own experience from popular coffee shops and restaurants.
“Sometimes if you’re out somewhere like this, you [say] ‘let me get like 5-10 minutes quiet time, even if I go in here and knock out 3-4 phone calls,’” she said. “At least you have a room, if you’re not meeting someone, you still can have a bit of quiet time.”
She sectioned off a space toward the back of the shop to use as a conference room. She said several people use the room for meetings.
Currently, Purvis is working on acquiring a beer and wine license to expand current menu offerings. Franchising may also be a future possibility to accommodate different areas of the city.
“I think that with food, drinks, sweets, there’s always going to be a connection in business no matter what.”