Black Couple Makes History As Hotel Owners, Acquires Quality Inn In Memphis For $3.85M

Meet Norland James and his wife, Dr. Amina Gilyard James, the owners of the newest Black-owned Quality Inn hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. With the help of a cohort of first-time African American hotel investors, the two were able to acquire the 70-room property located in the Raleigh neighborhood part of the city for $3.85 million.

Norland and Amina, however, are not new to the industry. Between 2019 and 2021, they invested in two Hilton-branded hotels as limited partners and passive investors. Amina comments, “We learned a lot as limited partners, and we just knew that we wanted to buy our very own hotel in 2022. Ultimately, our goal is to acquire more midscale hotel properties in secondary markets in the Southern and Midwest regions of the country.”

More than ready

The couple is more than ready for the acquisition that they’ve made.

Norland holds an MBA degree from the University of Phoenix, and began investing in real estate when he was stationed in the Army at Fort Bragg. His passion for real estate has blossomed over the years as he’s diversified his portfolio with short-term vacation rental and hotel properties.

Amina brings just as much to the table. As a serial entrepreneur specializing in organization development/effectiveness and hospitality, she holds a Doctorate in Human & Organizational Learning from George Washington University. In addition, she is a seasoned consultant, speaker, and investor with almost 10 years of real estate investment and operations experience.

Why Memphis?

Choosing Memphis as a location was a no-brainer for the couple. After doing thorough research, they learned that the hotel market in Memphis has seen of the strongest pandemic recoveries in the U.S. Even more, corporate expansion to the area has driven job growth and increased travel to the area. In addition, Memphis is centrally located to the Arkansas and Missouri state lines as well as major cities including Jackson, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia, and even Nashville.

“We know this will be a success,” Norland says. “We already have plans and consultants in place to increase customer satisfaction, implement sales and marketing strategies, and enhance property condition.”

For more information about the couple and their hotel ventures, visit their website at


Meet The Black Father And Daughter Duo Who Supply Hamburger Buns To 1,000’s Of McDonald’s Restaurants

Meet Trina Bediako and her father, Tilmon F. Brown, the founders and owners of New Horizon’s Baking, a Black family-owned business based in Norwalk, Ohio that has been a reliable supplier of baked goods to over 5,000 quick-service restaurants including McDonald’s.

Since the late 1960s, Tilmon, who is Chairman of the company, has diligently worked in the baking industry to support his family. In 1995, he was offered to run New Horizons Baking Company before he eventually took sole ownership. Over the years, he has been ensuring the company is producing quality baked goods for the food service industry.

In 2002, Brown asked his daughter, Trina, who was then working in the telecommunications industry, to join the family business. For 16 years, she learned about the business while working under her father before eventually becoming CEO in 2017.

Under Trina’s leadership, the company has seen some innovations to stay relevant with the changing times while maintaining high standards for the products they make. One of their long-time clients is McDonald’s, to whom they continue to supply their baked essentials such as English muffins and hamburger buns.

Moreover, Bediako currently oversees 4 facilities with more than 500 employees, which was twice the number when she started at the company. Although his father has laid the business’ foundation, she said there had to be some developments to emphasize a more positive employee experience which she believes has led to the company’s growing sales revenue.

“I believe to be a strong leader you’ve got to listen first,” Bediako told Entrepreneur. “You need to care enough about what your employees’ needs are and be willing to make the change. We want to be the choice employer and the choice manufacturer.”

Learn more about the company at their official website at


Meet The 36-Year-Old Black Mom Of Two Making $144K A Year As A Truck Driver

Clarissa Rankin, a 36-year-old African American mother from Charlotte, North Carolina, has broken stereotypes working as a professional truck driver. She loves the job so much that she decided to start her own trucking business JC Rankins Transport, which earned over $144,000 last year alone.

Rankin never planned to become a truck driver before. She studied criminal justice and worked as a substitute teacher. She was earning $1,900 per month at that time and it was not enough to support her family.

Her husband, who had worked in the trucking industry, was the one who encourage her to try driving a truck. She immediately fell in love with the job compared to an office job. She even got her truck driving license on her first try, proving everyone wrong.

“People always have this image in their mind of a truck driver being a man with a big old stomach, big old beard and wearing overalls,” she told CNBC. “I love to get that expression on people’s faces like, ‘Can you really drive that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, I got this honey.'”

However, it was not easy for Rankin to find work for being different in the field. She got turned down many times before getting hired. She was then making nearly $50,000 a year but she felt that it was still not enough.

Rankin decided to start her own trucking business JC Rankins Transport. For 4 years, she has been driving trucks to transport different goods across the East Coast. Besides having freedom with her own schedule, she also earned more than in her previous jobs. Last year, the company brought in $144,208 and took home around $73,000 after the costs. 

Rankin, who currently has 1.8 million followers on TikTok, also makes money from creating content about her trucking life on social media. She earned $36,000 from promotional videos and advertising last year.

Moreover, she is thankful for the support of her husband, who works from home as a videographer and stays with their sons while she’s on the road. Despite other people’s criticism of her choice of work and the challenges she faces as a woman truck driver, she still continues to do what she loves.

She currently has more than 1.8 million followers on TikTok @IAmClarissaRankin


Mom, Daughter Open Newest Black-Owned Gourmet Coffee Shop In Kentucky

Meet Ticy Cox and her 24-year-old daughter, Ayanna, the founders and owners of Kawaha Java, the first Black-owned gourmet coffee shop in the Owensburg, Kentucky area.

The mother-and-daughter duo has always been passionate about coffee and the atmosphere that local coffee shops provide for conversations. That is what inspired them to open Kahawa Java with the motto: “The pattern of coffee and conversation.”

While they were looking for the perfect location for the coffee shop, they found out that they are also offering something new to the area. The coffee shop is situated within a residential area where people can stop by to get their cup of coffee.

“Talking with the realtor, he said ‘there’s nothing [like this] over here, nothing at all.’ So we wanted to bring something to the west side and it ended up being exactly that,” Ticy told the Owensboro Times.

The name Kahawa Java comes from their Swahili roots, which literally means “Coffee Coffee.” But aside from coffee, they also serve teas, matches, and pastries. They also have a room for spoken word and live music performances.

Moreover, they hope to expand beyond the walls of their location as they plan to also open a coffee truck. Since launching their shop a few months ago, they have also added catering and coffee services at different events.

“We hope to outgrow the space and hope that we do amazing to where we can take it to the next place that we go and do our own build, but you never know,” Ayanna said.

Be sure to follow the coffee shop on Instagram @KahawaJavaShop