DETROIT – Detroiters came out to celebrate the opening of Rosa, a new coffee shop in the Rosedale community. The entrance doors were flanked with balloons and a ribbon cutting as nearly 50 customers waited in a line outside to support the newly named and renovated retail.
The new coffee shop honors the legacy of Rosa Malone, one of the first Black people to move into the northwest Detroit neighborhood in 1973.
“This is about honoring what it is to be Grandmont-Rosedale, honoring good friendship, and good neighbors,” said Charity Dean, co-owner and great-granddaughter of the shop’s namesake. Dean’s great grandmother’s fight to own a home in the once predominately white neighborhood is a part of history and her connection to community and being a good neighbor is a legacy she hopes to continue by making the shop a community staple.
After a community survey, most respondents said they wanted a place where they can “gather that would feel like home.” Designed and redecorated by Detroit architectural designer Rebecca (“Bucky”) Willis, the space will provide a reminiscence of being at grandma’s house – with a dose of modern flare.
That is exactly what Dean and her friend and business partner Heather Zygmontowicz are hoping to offer in the space that was previously up for sale.
“What you can expect when you show up is not only to feel good, but feel energized to get your work done, or come here to celebrate,” said Zymontowicz, co-owner of Rosa.
Rosa immediately fell in love when she first saw the home she had hope to someday call home. However, racism and government discriminatory practices would pose a challenge for her to make the house on Rosemont a home, but despite much adversity she wouldn’t allow those barriers to deter her goal.
“She was determined to a pioneer. The white family that owned the home agreed with Rosa – in the face of death threats, they were persistent and ensuring that the legacy of racism would not deter this Black family from living is Rosedale Park,” said Dean.
The friendship between Dean’s great grandmother and the homeowners who sold her the home is represented in the friendship between Charity and Heather.
Heather and Charity met in 2014 and were drawn by their mutual work ethic space and love for Detroit. Heather’s family had also lived in the Rosedale community – their bond would grow to even greater heights.
When Charity learned about the previous coffee shop being up for sale, she connected with Heather on a vision to collaborate on a reimagined coffee space with significance to the community. Heather also wanted to build more of a connection to the area where her family lived and now in partnership with Charity will help more Detroiters build a stronger to connection to each other because of Rosa’s love and connection to the people of Rosedale.
Mrs. Rosa had lived in Rosedale for 44 years before passing away at the ag of 96 years-old in 2019.
“I think so much of our partnership is rooted in family and what they have instilled in us, and at the end of the day, I wouldn’t do anything if Charity didn’t push me.”
The shop’s house roast, Faust Haus Roasting Co., is a locally owned Ethiopian blend that will be paired with breakfast treats and lunch bites by local partners and vendors.
“It’s super exciting working with Charity and Heather, said Derek English, owner of Faust Haus Roasting Co,. “We have some beautiful coffees from all over the world for Rosa, we have a Brazilian, Ethiopian flavor, a Columbian – all sorts of beautiful coffees roasted for this neighborhood.”
“I’m so excited to be at Rosa!,” said Dawn Wilson-Clark, a customer visiting on ribbon-cutting day open day. “The energy is so amazing and I can’t wait to have meetings here.”
Rosa will serve as a community hub, a place to host events, and offer an intimate co-working space.
So the next meet-up spot will be at “Grandma’s house”, the melting pot for friendships and neighbors of the historic Grandmont-Rosedale community where the legacy of Rosa will live on with every hot drop coffee served.