Covid's Explosion

17 Jun 2021


High unemployment, the magnifying power of the web and fresh fintech financing are fueling an eruption of startups not seen in decades. And America will never go back to business as usual. 

In the gritty, gray concrete lobby of Firebrand Collective—a women’s coworking space in Kansas City’s industrial West Bottoms district—Jackie Nguyen makes lattes laced with cardamom and lychee from her colorful mobile coffee shop. A colossal dragon head covers the shop, Cafe Cà Phê, painted the bold yellow and red of the South Vietnamese flag, with dashes of bright blue in a nod to the French influence on the country’s food. “And of course, this is Kansas City,” says Nguyen, 32. “They’re the colors of the Chiefs and Royals, too.” 

Cafe Cà Phê serves “Hella Good Lattes” and “Saigon” iced coffee to some 200 customers a day. Monthly revenue is roughly $30,000. “It’s been a crazy, amazing ride,” says Nguyen, a first-time entrepreneur. “The only business I knew before this was show business.” 

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