He overcame the pandemic and two vandalism attacks to open a unique coffee shop in the heart of Lemon Grove.
And he’s only 19.
“This place is going to be a place of unity,” said Zachary Hamlett, the man behind The Hamlett.
The coffee shop celebrated its grand opening Monday with local dignitaries, family and fans. The Hamlett advertises primarily as a café. However, it also doubles as an apothecary and community hub.
“What could we do that could create change that will be lasting and strong, impactful; not just for this business but other businesses, too?” Hamlett asked himself in 2020.
The recent high school graduate wanted to do something to support the community and other Black-owned businesses in the wake of the social justice protests that swept through the country.
“It felt like my way of protesting in a way,” he said.
“It’s important that we collaborate and that we partner so that good businesses can continue to thrive,” said Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez. “And we’re going to have those conversations right here in The Hamlett.”
The slow pace of business during the pandemic slowed Hamlett’s progress opening his business alongside his sister, Shacole Hamlett. Someone smashed three of his windows just as the Hamlett was finally taking shape. Someone came back and smashed another window right after Hamlett repaired the first three.
“You know, they weren’t finished yet. They came back for round two,” he said through gritted teeth.
However, The Hamlett finally opened despite all the speed bumps.
“Now, if I look around, I see that and it’s actually here and that’s pretty cool,” said Zachary Hamlett.