West Louisville welcomes new Black-owned coffee shop with help from Bellarmine University

Business owner Ausha Hilliman opens up her coffee shop Julee's Mocha Coffee Shop in West Louisville with the help of an entrepreneur program at Bellarmine Unive
Published: Feb. 11, 2023 at 11:45 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Thanks to a $10,000 grant from a program at Bellarmine University, a new coffee shop is coming to West Louisville.

The owner said it’s one of the only coffee shops in the west end.

If you’re not looking you may miss Julee’s Mocha Coffee Shop. It’s tucked inside the Nia Center on 29th and Broadway in the west end.

However, on the side of town with so little coffee shops, how could you even know? Well, that’s the something Ausha Hilliman wants to change.

Hilliman has lived in the west end her whole life so she feels she knows the wants and needs of her community.

One thing she doesn’t see often however, are coffee shops.

“Seeing that there were certain things that weren’t in this neighborhood but was in other neighborhoods was a coffee shop,” Julee’s Mocha Coffee Shop owner Ausha Hilliman said. “When you think of the culture of what the coffee shop brings, it brings positivity in the neighborhoods they’re in and we didn’t have that.”

After years of working for name brand coffee shops, Hilliman found her passion, but what she was lacking was a way to utilize it.

“I can make coffee in my sleep,” Hilliman said. “But knowing that there’s struggles and there’s needs that need to learn about the backhand of the business and that you’re product that you’re actually making is like ten percent of the business.”

Enter Bellarmine University. Their 6 month long Women of Color Entrepreneur Leadership Certificate takes 12 women like Hilliman with different business ventures and teaches them how to run them.

“You know we have the knowledge and the professors and business leaders, mainly professors but we do ask business leaders and entrepreneurs,” Women of Color Entrepreneur Leadership Certificate Director Patricia Carver said. “All women, which is really nice, to come in and teach these lessons.”

Carver is the program’s director and says they teach their participants skills like business marketing, taxes and sales pitches.

The opportunity gives them a fully-funded curriculum that can help change lives.

“That is one of the most important things is that you’re giving back to your community that you live in and that’s our social justice mission,” Carver said. “I’m glad that we’re able to do this and I’m really proud of the program.”

Carver said thanks to their many sponsors like Republic Bank, they were able to fund the program.

At the end of the program, students compete to win a ten thousand dollar grant to go towards that business.

Last year that award went to Hilliman to help her fulfill her passion, one cup of joe at a time.

“With my previous profession it wasn’t really giving me want I needed and I felt stifled,” Hilliman said. “I realized that this community and this world of coffee made me happy and it made other people happy. And I love making people happy.”

If you’re interested in taking part in Bellarmine’s program, applications are open until the end of the month.