Black small business owners bring popular Acai Bowls to trendy Williamsburg

From left, Danielle Regis-Roberson, Paul Roberson, franchise owner; Kitty Chan, NYC deputy commissioner, Ainsworth Robinson, franchise owner; Paul Gucciardo, president SoBol Enterprises; and Nicole Greaves, Bridge Street Development Corp.
Qlick Photos

Long Island’s popular SoBol Cafe has officially brought its signature Acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) Bowl eatery to the trendy Williamsburg community.

Business leaders and community stakeholders last week came out to support the owners, local businessmen Paul Roberson, Tony Robinson, and Ahmed Jerome for the official ribbon cutting ceremony.

The afternoon affair included free samples and musical performance by multi-instrumentalist/ hip-hop artist Dudley Music.

“It is truly an honor to be here” said Deputy Commissioner Kitty Chan. “It takes a village, and this is what is all about coming back strong for the city.”

Located at 175 Kent Ave., SoBol Williamsburg sits on the corner of North 3rd Street, just blocks away from the neighborhood’s expansive waterfront.

The eatery is already a go-to spot for nearby tourist and locals.

SoBol Team members Lawrence Anderson and Jada Young Holliday. Qlick Photos

“Opening a business is truly challenging,” said Paul Roberson, one of the partnering franchise owners. “We are truly thankful for our family, friends and the supportive business community for helping us get here.”

“I just want to thank Paul, AJ, Tony and (Store Manager) Jacobi for believing in the brand, and getting our footprint here in Brooklyn,” said Paul Gucciardo, SoBol Enterprises. “We are truly excited to be here.”

SoBol Williamsburg was set to open fall 2021. However, the alarming outbreak of the COVID omicron variant and national employee shortage pushed the date back.

Thanks to the help from community stakeholders, including Bridge Street Development Corporation, the business trio was able to secure viable candidates to join their team.

“We are so happy to be here to support small business owners AJ, Paul & Tony,” said Nicole Greaves, Bridge Street Development Corp. “And we look forward to helping other community small businesses get back on track post pandemic.”

The Black-owned and operated franchise will be the growing brand’s second Brooklyn operation.

Its first store, located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, opened in the fall of 2020 in the middle of COVID.

SoBol offers healthy fast-casual, affordable menu items such as customizable, daily blended acai bowls and all-natural smoothies.

The brand prides itself on using fresh fruit, delivered seven days a week from local farms, always-fresh homemade granola, and a variety of specialty toppings such as natural nut butters and heart healthy seeds.

The ingredients are allergen-friendly and contain no powder or syrups.

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