I, Ionna Jimenez, 3 Black Cats Owner, avid community organizer, mother, daughter, sister, lover, and fighter for the oppressed, welcome you!
It has been a month since the 3 Black Cats’ Cafe opened its doors, and I must say, personally, this has surely been a roller coaster ride of emotions. Everything you hear about the stresses of opening a business are true and then some. But the stories you will find here, about how a stop at the Cafe in your journey, will put those stressors at ease.
There are some who will challenge our very existence, but the fact of the matter is the majority agrees, WE WILL COME TOGETHER FOR LOVE!
So where do I start? Yes, with Purpose! I always tell people that this is a Cafe with a purpose, so what is the Purpose? The purpose is truly to spread love. Love ain't easy, it’s very tough. As a fighter for the oppressed, it means that I carry a deep love for my people, and with love, I believe that we can fight together for what we deserve to BE. To BE human, BE Creative, and BE Powerful, in OUR OWN right. This gives us the space to BE equal in all forms, allows us to live the dream that we fought to create but seldom reap the benefits of. And it all starts in our hearts and our homes, where love lives.
With owning a business it can become very easy to become trapped in the NUMBERS, in the business talk, in the marketing, the branding, promotions…. Blah blah blah. All of that can wear you down, stress you out, and become very annoying. But when you are in a customer driven business and the people are what moves you, you can truly become inspired by them, and those annoyances seem to disappear. Inspiration breeds LOVE. Inspiration that truly moves you, comes when least expected. This is why my eyes, ears, and HEART are always open, looking for inspiration and the special lessons and moments it plants in our lives.
Examples of this inspiration happen at the most unsuspecting moments. Once when I sat in the Cafe, one quiet morning, working away, trying to find a new POS (Point of Sale) system, (because ours sucks and cant seem to take a credit card to save our 9 lives. I had to, lol), sick and tired of having that “Sorry, Cash Only” cardboard hand written sign on my door, I googled away. Sitting next to one of my sisters, and fellow black cat, while she had her morning coffee and pastry, we started to chat. And LORD, did we chat, about: love, sex, vacations, depression, friendship . . .the list can go on forever. But we ended with a long hug and with love being spread, easing our stress away.
Whenever I think that I am opening these doors to service my beloved community, I realize that they are actually serving me, which allows myself to better service them. My heart is a giving heart, everyone who knows me, knows that I put others before myself. But my customers want to give right back! One of my first meetings at the Cafe was with a Brownsville native, who is currently working on a documentary about unnoticed residents of Brownsville with a calling to serve. This wonderful lady, came into the Cafe and introduced herself and her story to me, in the hopes that I would participate in her documentary (of course, I am!!). She spoke about her mother being the inspiration behind the documentary and told me about when her mother fell ill, and how she had a wonderful nurse who took great care of her in her absence. Eventually they lost contact and sadly she hadn’t seen the nurse in years, but guess what? With purpose, love, and commitment to the community, comes MAGIC! The nurse walked right through the Cafe doors, at the very moment. There she was! There they were! Both in my Cafe, both seeking and finding LOVE! Yes, we all cried! It was so AMAZING!!!! This is the embodiment of inspiration, love, service, new beginnings, and success.
The Cafe is truly a place of purpose. The purpose to inspire people to take charge and create the future of their dreams. To take back their power and their community.
God Bless, and I hope to continue to share these great stories and experiences with our customers and our community.