Rosemari Hicks first came to Camden to continue her long career in human resources, only to find something even better. Moving away from the traditional work she was used to, Hicks found her passion in helping new businesses and entrepreneurs grow into their potential.
After opening a co-working space in 2010, Hicks saw how inspired and motivated her clients became when they had the opportunity to learn in a social environment. Bouncing ideas off each other, exchanging strategies, and discussing the future of Camden became something special shared between clients—and Hicks realized that. She recognized the need for a space like this in the changing city of Camden, and used her business experience to open a café, where the whole city can experience what her clients do at her consulting agency.
Last month, Hicks opened Nuanced Cafe on Market Street in downtown Camden, fostering a “home away from home” space for residents of Camden. Serving local treats and fresh coffee and tea, this café isn’t just a space for people to connect. It’s an opportunity for bakers to sell their treats, Camden artists to show their work, and other entrepreneurs to grow their businesses from the ground up.
“Most of my career has been development, connections, and finding a way to help others succeed,” says Hicks. “This is a more relaxed environment in which I can do that.”
With a lot of change happening in the city of Camden, Hicks found a separation between old and new business, and on top of wanting to create a space for the local community, she wanted to help the city continue to grow and evolve. Bringing new businesses and opportunities to one of the state’s most diverse—and in recent decades, one of the most struggling—cities was an idea that continued to cultivate, and Hicks wanted to be a part of that conversation.
“There is a lot of talent here,” says Hicks of Camden. “That talent wasn’t necessarily tapped into and I wanted to step into that void.” In doing so, Hicks works with small, local bakers and production companies to stock her cafe with delicious coffee, tea, pies, and other bakery items. Much like her original consulting business, she imagines Nuanced Cafe to be a space for both Camden residents and visitors.
Serving on a number of boards in and outside the city, which focus on the economic development and growth of micro-businesses, she is eager to watch the future of Camden unfold. Hicks is hopeful for what’s to come, but feels there is still a long way to go in terms of helping the Black, brown, and Latinx communities in the city. Hicks is also proud to be a Black-owned business.
“There’s been a lot of eyes that are open that were previously closed,” she says. “Our differences shouldn’t make a difference.”
There may be a long way to go in regards to the revitalization of Camden, but Hicks has a lot of faith in the people and community, and the future of small businesses in the city.
“Camden is going through its own revolution,” said Hicks. “Bridging the nuances of a relationship through a cup of coffee is what I hope to do.”Click here to leave a comment