Quincy Watkins is the pastor of the Neighborhood Church and owner of Milk + Honey Coffeehouses with 2 locations on Union and LoMa. With “coffee and God” being his 2 biggest passions, he is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE because of his love for our city. This is his story.
“I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and went to undergrad (Temple University) and grad school (Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania) on the west coast. After graduation I worked in global marketing for a consulting firm and was a teaching fellow at Princeton University.
My wife was the best decision I’ve ever made and the reason I came to Wilmington. She lived in Wilmington and loved the city so much so that’s what brought me here. At first I started from a ministry perspective and knew I could spend at least 10-15 years loving and serving the people on the West Side. On the business side an opportunity opened up for me to combine my two biggest passions: God and coffee. I felt the West Side needed a coffee house. We came up with Milk + Honey and wanted it to be more than coffee; a place where people can connect and innovate and socialize. Using single origin coffee and great art on the walls, we are hopefully making it a destination for people as they live and visit the city.
What keeps me in Wilmington is that it has shown me so much love, and I love it as much as I feel it. Some of the smartest people I’ve met have been in Wilmington. Even if I don’t agree with everything, the care is genuine from everyone. Before coming here I was looking for a city I could be a part of and really grow and give back to. My wife and I both love Delaware because it’s so central to NY and DC.
The church is simply a place where faith is in action. We wanted to demonstrate how much we care and the love of God through our service. COVID knocked the air out of all of us, but Wilmington has a lot of resilience. The city has provided so many great resources (Wilmington Strong Fund, West Side Grows, etc.) Everyone has gone out of their way to support us. We started Small Business Saturday in our parking lot, after we clawed our way back after being closed. We said ‘Hey this parking lot would be great for small businesses to bring their product or service and put up tents and try to drive as much traffic as possible.’ On average we had 7-8 businesses each Saturday. Even through the pandemic, people came out! It proved to us all we just have to weather the storm and show grit. The last one was 2 weeks ago and brought tears to all of our eyes.
I never lost hope for Wilmo. I knew this was a pretty big speed bump, not meant to stop us but slow us down. It also brought opportunities for us to ask ‘How do we make all businesses be successful?’ For me, there is no such thing as you win and I lose. I want BrewHaha, I want ALL of our coffeehouses to do well, there’s room for ALL of us.
The Riverfront does their thing great and Downtown does too. But the West Side is a hidden gem and ripe for all kinds of activity. I’m hopeful that we have people in place (business and social) for true economic development. The most important thing for me is the city create and attract new businesses, but not leave our residents behind.
I really believe Wilmington is on the verge of a social and economic renaissance. I’m hopeful about so many things that I think once we get through this city is just going to reach its truest potential.”
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