RACINE, Wis. — As businesses try to find their footing out of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of entrepreneurs in Racine are building each other up through collaboration.
Emerson Holliday and Sergio Molina each lost their jobs when the pandemic hit. That’s when they decided to take matters into their own hands.
“I was working at a restaurant that shut down for a month or so, so we just started serving food out of the kitchen [at The Branch],” said Holliday, who is the master chef at Dragonpit BBQ. “Now we’re just all together growing and we’re growing this community kitchen idea while we can.”
Holiday was soon joined by Esperanza Coffee Collective and La Taquiza Guadalajara to operate out of the same kitchen at The Branch, which used to serve as an old bank.
“My friend and I renovated the window back here where the tellers had the drive-through for the bank, and now we just serve the coffee out of here,” said Molina, the founder of Esperanza. “One of my visions was to have a drive-though. I just didn’t have the capital.”
Not only do Sergio and Emerson operate out of the same space bi-weekly, they also promote each other’s menu offerings and suggest pairings at a time when business is critical.
“I think it’s very important just to see that combination of hustle, support and encouragement because that’s really what it’s all about,” Holliday said.
“People that shop with one local business are likely to shop with another local business,” Molina adds. “Just those collaborations really help with exposure.”
It’s all part of what makes The Branch unique.
“It’s actually really cool because we started out with everyone having their own time slots and doing their own thing, but over the last six months or so they have really started working together,” said Kristina Campbell, owner of The Branch.