Mailbox Cafe is a black-owned and operated enterprise that offers packing, shipping and other business services to the local community. It’s equal parts shipping shop and coffee spot, hence the name Mailbox Cafe. The shipping and packing business is owned by Sheldon Kelly, whose son Khalief serves as the general operations manager, while the coffee shop is owned and operated by Kewaan Drayton. The coffee shop opened in February of 2022 and is celebrating one year in business.
The space that the coffee shop occupies sat vacant for a few years prior to and during the pandemic. But at the end of 2021, two entrepreneurs with vision, Drayton and Aysia Woods, came together to revitalize the cafe. As aforementioned, Drayton owns and operates the coffee shop, but this is not his first business venture. His other entrepreneurial pursuits include Red Eye Film Productions and The Savannah Underground. Woods, who has also founded her own lifestyle business called HereHome, oversaw the redesign and renovation.
“It was the quickest turnaround you could ever imagine,” remarked Woods. “We just made a plan of how to bring this space back to life. . . It was just sitting here, so it needed a good facelift and some new life breathed into it,” she continued.
They spent the 2021 holiday season renovating the cafe and opened for business shortly thereafter in February. Over the last year, Drayton has enjoyed the community’s support.
“[Business] has been good. A lot of people like the energy, and they like having the coffee and smoothies here,” said Drayton.
Mailbox Cafe is directly across from SCAD’s Eckburg Hall, which houses the university’s fashion and accessory design programs, so a lot of Drayton’s clientele consists of SCAD fashion students. The customer base also consists of entrepreneurs and professionals who come to Mailbox Cafe for the business services and end up staying for the coffee and conversation.
The cafe has become a hub for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs where they can enjoy a nice latte and a pastry while receiving sage advice and professional support.
“Out on the wall outside, it says ‘small business headquarters’ . . . That’s dope to have a place where you can come and get anything that you have to do as a small business owner done here,” Drayton expressed.
Mailbox Cafe offers wifi, virtual mailboxes, printing and shipping, computer rentals, key cutting, legal documents and other services to assist the professional community.
“Overall, you can just connect with other business-minded people. Especially African Americans who need information from people who can relate to their situation and advise them on how to move forward in a realistic way. . . I think along with the services we provide, a lot of people come here for the welcoming environment that we’ve created. . . It’s definitely a different way that we consult with people here,” he added.
The community-centric environment is what sets the coffee shop at Mailbox Cafe apart from others.
“There’s not any other place that’s open in Savannah where you can handle your business and get a drink, so the concept is very unique. . . The fact that we offer a wealth of other services that you can’t find at any other coffee shop adds a lot of value to what we do,” Drayton explained.
Woods claimed that Drayton’s presence is also an appeal that draws people in.
“People will come here and ask him for business advice. . . A lot of customers . . . who come in are small black-owned businesses who have dreams of doing different things, so they’ll come in and know Kewaan’s here and want to ask him questions,” she said.
She added that the cafe is often the site where people come together to collaborate.
“You can come in and meet somebody helpful a lot of the time, and I think that really sets it apart from the average coffee shop,” she noted.
Drayton and Woods have enjoyed the growth so far and continue to come up with innovative ideas to better serve the local community. They plan to host events at the cafe where attendees can learn about business. Drayton also plans to implement a texting system by which customers can place orders remotely. They encourage the public to come and support the shop because they prioritize customer service.
Woods explained, “The coffee services are great, and the customer service that you’re going to get here is going to top a lot of other places you go, whether that’s business consulting services or coffee and snacks. By patronizing this spot, you are supporting your local community in very tangible ways.”
Mailbox Cafe is located at 1305 Barnard St. To learn more, visit mailbox-cafe.com/.