There’s something about indepently-owned coffee shops that I love. The feeling of unexpected community mixed with the scent of hot coffee always draws me in. I love observing my fellow shop-goers and determining if they’re a student escaping their college campus for new inspiration to crank out a term paper, an established writer working on their next book or just a lover of good vibes in need of some scenery outside of the house.
Regardless, when I visited Sip & Sonder for the first time last weekend, I was met with all of my favorite coffee shop aspects. The decor was earthy and modern with the industrial exposed ceiling painted black, dawning gold light fixtures for contrast. One wall was painted with an abstract purple design and the wall across was adorned with art work. The wall that really stuck out was the “Sonder” wall that displayed the definition of the word, because we were all wondering what it meant. Is sonder to contemplate in deep thought? No, that’s ponder… Anyway, “sonder” by this shop’s definition is “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.”
Of course, the reason why I visited this shop in the first place is because it’s indepently owned and not a part of a large chain, meaning my $5 towards an Americano is going directly to the business owner. The second reason why I was drawn to this shop is because of its location in Inglewood about half a mile from the new, highly-anticipated football stadium.
Gentrification is something that people of color are all too familiar with. So, when huge revenue streams come to cities such as Inglewood, we often see white business owners and home buyers flocking to these areas at lightning speed. Sip & Sonder, however, is black-owned. It’s location in the heart of Black Los Angeles is essential to maintaining our community and sustaining the rich culture and history that makes Inglewood what it is today.
Allies are great and necessary, but the black community is so dynamic and has so much to offer, why not start building from within?
-Amanda-Jane Thomas, co-owner
The owners of this shop, Shanita Nicholas and Amanda-Jane Thomas are two beautiful black women who have created something more than a shop in an evolving neighborhood where hypebeasts will visit just to post on Instagram. They’ve made a space for artists, business owners, families, singles, students and everyone in between. Sip & Sonder gives us an overarching sense of comfort that our neighborhood is in good hands. We can all embrace the change coming to this area with ease knowing that spaces like this are open for business.