Vanessa Braxton

Vanessa Braxton, the owner of Black Momma Vodka, is expanding her burgeoning empire. According to Black Business, Braxton plans to open a 4,600-square-foot cafe and bar in Wheatley Heights, New York, next year.

She’s recently taken over three storefronts in a New York shopping plaza in anticipation of opening Black Momma Tea & Cafe. The planned restaurant will serve 160 different blends of tea, three flavored agaves, and vegan and organic food items such as muffins and wraps.

Braxton, 50, of Dix Hills, began making her very own Black Momma vodkas in 2013, and in 2016 she opened a manufacturing facility in Wyandanch. She also began making teas, followed by flavored agaves, and now has 33,000 online and wholesale customers and has made $2.9 million in sales. She has plans to open distribution centers in several states, while the Wheatley Heights building will serve as the company’s headquarters and training facility for the nearly 300 franchisees interested in being in business with her.

According to Newsday, Braxton said she looked at many properties but favored Wheatley Heights due to it being about 60% black and Latino amongst its 5,100 residents. “I have plenty of places I could go,” says Braxton, a retired MTA structural engineer. “But I wanted to take the opportunity for people who look like me to see what I’m doing for the community so that they can step up and do the same thing.”

“I’m using a lot of small, minority, women and veteran-owned vendors, who never had the chance with larger places,” she said. “It’s economic inclusion for everyone.”

“What she’s bringing is a different flavor into the downtown and it’s upscale,” said Chris Black, president of the Concerned Taxpayers of Wheatley Heights/Dix Hills civic association. “This is what we want in the community.”

Braxton is the CEO and president of Black Momma Vodka and Black Momma Brand. She is also the first African American woman distiller, master blender, and operator of a nationally distributed vodka in the country, and the owner of the only black-owned tea and beverage manufacturing facility.

Black Momma brand items by the numbers:

  • 150 tea blends
  • 6 vodkas
  • 6 CBD oils
  • 3 flavored agaves
  • 1 tea/coffee steeper

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