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The Hustle

Name: Amanda Keyes (Community Cafe)

Posted By Andrea Perez

In 2013, Wisconsin native, Amanda Keyes was lucky enough to find and create a space she could call a home away from home on Central Ave, St. Petersburg Florida. It’s called Community Cafe and yes, it’s opened until 2 a.m. on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Amanda, who’s best known as Mandy by many locals in St. Pete, is energetic and welcoming to newcomers who venture into Community Cafe asking about everything from their vegan-friendly menu to their monthly art exhibits. If there's one thing that differentiates her from other business owners is her interest in hosting fun events inside the Café, and giving other groups the opportunity to also use the space as a meeting point...all the while sipping on house wines and eating vegan brownies.

Years in Tampa Bay

Me? 10 years. The cafe, 4.5 years

Hustle (job)


What do you do?  

I run Community Cafe!

Why do you do it?

To connect people and build community.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

Honestly, because I liked throwing parties. I realized the thing giving me the most meaning in my life was throwing a dorky themed party where everyone was required to dress up, and that helped break down a lot of barriers and made it easier for people to connect. I'd introduce these random friends to these other random friends, and then seeing them become friends was very rewarding. I realized my purpose in life is to connect people. And how do you connect people, but by giving them food and drink, comfy couches, coffee and tea, as well as beer and wine, and staying open late...

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

People sometimes think we're all vegetarian, but we really just try to have all the different options for everyone, to be able to bring everyone together.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Staffing problems, especially when they all happen at the same time, it can be super stressful.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Get rid of negative influences. One useful and practical way to infuse positivity is remembering to be thankful, and keep a couple packs of Thank You Cards laying around to write a note to your employees when they do something above and beyond.

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