CHARLOTTE – When Food Lion executives asked for Dorian Bolden’s business card during a chance meeting, they also promised to follow up. The Durham entrepreneur didn’t expect too much, but knew he had taken his shot. Now, about a year after that meeting, Bolden’s coffee brand, Beyucaffé, has been on the shelves of about 30 Food Lion stores in the Triangle since June, and he has had talks with them of expanding that number to 50 stores.
“It’s always about opportunity, and that’s one thing I love about being an entrepreneur,” said Bolden. “There’s always that common thread among entrepreneurs. How do you take advantage of your opportunities?”
Bolden found himself in front of Food Lion executives when his bank, Durham-based M&F Bank (Mechanics and Farmers), was giving a tour of Durham to business leaders. One of the tour stops was his Beyu Caffé in Durham. Along with serving coffee, he gave the executives gift baskets with samples. He and Food Lion were in conversations for eight months before the Salisbury-based grocery chain gave him space on their shelves.
“I appreciate their approach of making sure we crawl before we walk,” Bolden said. “They really want to value the partnership, and that we do things the right way.”
Bolden has come a long way in the coffee business considering he didn’t even start drinking coffee until his senior year at Duke University. He was a resident assistant and recalled he would drink “a lot of cream and sugar, with a dab of coffee” to stay awake. When he graduated from Duke in 2002 with a degree in economics, his aim was to conquer Wall Street.