Company: Dear Mama
Founded in: July 1, 2016
Based in: East Harlem
Link to their website: www.dearmamacoffee.com
Coffee breaks never missed a beat at Harlem’s Dear Mama cafe
In the midst of so much change, one of life’s little treasures has stayed the same.
As an essential business, Dear Mama, a New York City coffee shop, has continued serving the Harlem community with much-needed caffeine breaks.
Dear Mama’s primary location is a specialty coffee cafe and art space based in East Harlem. Coffee lovers can find a different vibe at Dear Mama’s second location, an all-day cafe and event space in West Harlem.
Bronx native and Dear Mama CEO Zachary Sharaga secured the coffee shop’s first Harlem location in 2016. For the past four years, he’s worked to brew good coffee and build rapport with his neighbors.
Then, during the coronavirus pandemic, the caffeine haven made the decision to use a portion of its sales to provide health and safety support to New York’s essential workers.
Sharaga said that this team has delivered meals to 30 to 50 households a week through donations and profits that are recycled back into the Harlem community.
The pandemic has also inspired ‘Coffee for the Front Lines,’ which gifts Harlem’s front-line heroes with cups of coffee while they are hard at work, specifically servicing the local Mt. Sinai and Metropolitan hospitals.
“We’ve delivered thousands and thousands of cups to the emergency rooms, mostly in East Harlem,” said Sharaga.
At the same time, Sharaga says his team has worked to maintain a positive experience for their regular customers seeking a sense of normalcy.
“We committed as a team, as a group, to keep the same hours of operation so as to cause as little interruption to people’s lives.”
Throughout the last few months, Dear Mama has even transformed their main shop to be a marketplace for personal protective equipment like surgical masks and essential items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
“We just took everything from storage, put it onto the retail floor, and offered whatever people needed for sale,” he said.
As a business owner committed to making life easier for those around him, the Dear Mama owner shares this message of hope with his community:
“Stick together and really support one another because there are so many challenges that people are having. From an economic standpoint, from a mental health standpoint, it’s really important, especially now, that people stick together and lean on one another.”