The city of Richmond knows itself. We’ve seen it all before — great booms, big busts, the ebb and flow of a diverse community — and learned from our experiences. The only way forward these days is to move with intention in this ever-shrinking world. At East Brother Beer, we take pride in our great city and its storied history and go forward with purpose towards a bright future.
It’s Richmond’s people that steer this ship. An intrepid group of community-builders who are dead-set on a future for Richmond as rich as its past. With Pride and Purpose they build our community and with Pride and Purpose we tell their stories.
Pride & Purpose:
Phillip Mitchell of R&R Coffee and Kim’s Louisiana Fried Turkey & Stuff
Phillip Mitchell has spent most of his adult life in the food industry. It was here that he found a passion for people and the community around him. When he and his wife, Kim (a Richmond Native), first moved home to Richmond three years ago, it was with the full intention of opening a business that revolved around food and community. See, the Mitchells come from a long line of entrepreneurs — Kim’s Uncle was the first Black grocer in Richmond — and they wanted to continue that legacy in a town they see as on the rise.
In conversation, Phillip comes across as the idea man, the dreamer, but says Kim serves an important role, “She keeps me in line.”, he states emphatically. Phillip goes on to say Kim serves as the admin for their growing empire, covering the books, reservations, contracts — essentially everything to make sure their business dealings remain profitable and continue on an organic, slow rise.
When they arrived back in Richmond The Mitchell’s plan was simple — start small and let their fried turkey do the talking. Phillip’s Louisiana roots and a desire to reach his new community through their stomachs were the impetus behind Kim’s Louisiana Fried Turkey. Just hearing him describe the turkey they serve is enough to get your mouth watering — brined and seasoned over three days before being deep fried fresh each day, Phillip is certain to make sure everyone knows the care and thought that goes into each meal. “All of our turkeys are organic, we don’t inject them, and we do our best to ensure there is no waste”, meaning that Phillip also offers up the carcass to folks looking to add a little spice to their stock game. But the Mitchells are looking to enrich their community with more than just full stomachs. That opportunity came when they were serving at one of their normal stops, the local Farmer’s Market. “One of our regulars who is connected around town said there was pop-up space open at the The Shops at Hilltop,” Phillip says. That day their second business — and the one that the couple had dreamed of one day opening — began to take shape.
“I’ve always wanted to have a community gathering place”, Phillip says, and R&R Coffee will be that place. After a year of pop-up shop status at The Shops at Hilltop, R&R is on its way to opening its doors at the Bridge Storage and Artspace, and welcoming folks from Richmond and beyond. Here Phillip will use the coffee shop’s position to give back to programs that build the status of Richmond and engage the community. Phillip believes ‘Pride and Purpose’ to mean pride in one’s city and purposefully moving it forward with a focus on diversity and education. Events like an “All Included” Fashion Show featuring a diverse line-up of models and Spoken Word events benefitting local organizations focused on children’s literacy, show that Phillip puts that personal definition into practice within his business.
For East Brother Beer the value in working with other small business owners like Phillip is readily apparent. “Not only do we support a friend and fellow business owner when we’re lucky enough to host Phillip and Kim in our taproom,” says Rob Lightner, co-founder of East Brother Beer Co., “but it also means our customers are happy and well-fed. It’s a win-win.”
That support from the Richmond community drives Phillip. You can hear hope in his voice as he talks about Richmond’s diverse history and the future of his business in an ever-changing landscape. He hopes to become a part of the fabric of a community that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness - both important tropes for his business and personal life. As for Phillip’s hopes for the surrounding community as a whole, he seems to have that figured out as well, “I hope that our city continues to evolve in the 21st century and embraces the new folks who now call Richmond home.”
Phillip isn’t alone here; much like the intrepid men and women who built the foundation of Richmond there are many working day in and day out to keep Richmond on the rise. They’re your neighbors, hell they may even be you, and they’re working alongside folks like Phillip Mitchell with a sense of Pride and Purpose to keep Richmond moving onward and upward.
With Pride and Purpose,
East Brother Beer Co.