Meet Kim Harris, entrepreneur, proud CAU Graduate and Harlem Native. Harris is one third of the owners of the craft beer bar, Harlem Hops. Sheen Magazine had the pleasure to catch up with the entrepreneur to discuss what inspired her to go into the craft beer industry, meeting her business partners, and what you can expect from her in the future. Check it out below in this Sheen exclusive interview!
What inspired you to get in the beer industry?
I wanted to be a doctor as a child. I went to school for Biology, after I graduated from Clark Atlanta University I moved back to New York. Although, I wanted to stay in the medical field, the universe pulled me in a different direction. In 2002, I started an events company. My desire was to open my own venue but in 2011, I was approached to help do marketing research for an upcoming beer show. After being a part of that opportunity, I instantly became a fan of beer. I began traveling to different boroughs exploring several venues for the best craft beer. I suddenly realized there was no market for craft beers in Harlem.
How did you feel when you ranked #2 on USA Today?
It’s levels to this. We originally ranked #18 out of 20 venues, when we first discovered we were in the competition. For weeks we were going back and forth ranking between #1 and #2, however between the people voting everyday for a month, we were then finally ranked at #2. To be honest, it’s just a great feeling to be acknowledged! Although, we love being voted at #2 but next year we’re going for that #1 spot. (she laughs) It’s Go Hard or Go Home!
What’s some good tasting components someone should look or taste for when buying a beer?
My connection to beer is simply my connection to science. Beer is all about the different species of yeast. I enjoy taking flavors profiles of big batches of beer and helping others discover the best beer for their palate.
Tell us the story of what inspired of Harlem Hops?
A guy approached me to open a beer store. However, over time it wasn’t working. I decided to exit the partnership and shortly after I met who would become my current business partner. In 2016, I met Kevin Bradford and there was an instant connection. He introduced me to his wife and it just made sense for all of us to come on board as the main partners for our desired business. I decided to work on a business plan for a beer bar and thus the idea of opening Harlem Hops created. We all had attended HBCU’S, we were all proud HBCU graduates and proud to be black; to find that combination is hard, so it was certainly all about the timing. In September of 2017, we signed the lease and Harlem Hops officially opened in June 2018.
Are there any plans to turn Harlem Hops into a franchise?
Yes. In the future, we plan to open more locations.
What’s next for Kim Harris?
Start consulting small business owners and encouraging them to get their head in the game for the same concept. For minorities it’s all about mind over matter, because we may not always have the money. You must ask yourself, if you had the money what would you do with it? I want to encourage other to get the business in order first and then the money will come. I simply want to get people mentally, financially and physically ready to become business owners.
For more on Harlem Hops, click here.
Featured Image courtesy of Harlem Hops