Lemon Grove

‘We Just Need a Place to Start': High School Grad Has Vision to Help Small Businesses

Zachary Hamlett has a passion for community with his “coffee apothecary shop that is also an incubator for small Black-owned businesses"

NBCUniversal, Inc.

“Our goal is to help small businesses grow.”

That’s what you’d expect to hear from a mayor or a chamber of commerce.

You would not expect to hear that from a young man who is only a few weeks removed from his senior year of high school.

“I honestly just want to help. I want to do something different,” said 19-year-old Zachary Hamlett.

That’s why the San Carlos man is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for The Hamlett.

“A coffee apothecary shop that is also an incubator for small Black-owned businesses,” said Hamlett. “Or any small businesses that need help.”

Hamlett said the shop would sell drinks, herbal medicines and supplements, and other products produced by local small businesses. The modern space inside would also double as a meeting and educational area for professionals and consultants to coach and mentor business owners.

“I was like, ‘Well, we need more of those.’ Right? Here in San Diego, I think we all want that. We just need a place to start,” said Hamlett while standing outside what he hoped would be his future location.

The entrepreneur who recently graduated from High Tech High in San Diego is trying to raise $30,000 to secure the location and begin construction.

He said this summer’s protests across the country ignited his heart and mind.

“I should do something,” he recalled thinking as he brainstormed with his family. “There’s something I can do to contribute bigger than just protesting. What can I do to make something happen?”

Hamlett worked with his family and other professionals to develop The Hamlett. It’s a nod to his family name, but also a nod to a small village or town that would work together towards success.

“Through a three-month program, we’re going to give them all the tools for success and then we’re also going to throw them a launch party, each and every one of them individually,” Zachary explained.

“Like a village coming together. That’s what I feel. I want people to come together,” he said. “I think this is a perfect way to make change in San Diego.”

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