Skip to main content

All People Coffee is about more than caffeine

A neighborhood coffee shop creates a community gathering space in a former coffee desert.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078, Keely Hagan | 615-966-6491 | 

Bradley Bruce standing behind the counter of All People Coffee

You’ll get more than a caffeine pick-me-up at All People Coffee, located in the historic Cleveland Park neighborhood of East Nashville. You’ll step into a community gathering place with a mission to unify neighbors.  

“There was so much divisiveness during the pandemic that it got me thinking about doing things differently,” says Bradley Bruce (MHA ’21), assistant vice president at HCA Healthcare and co-owner of All People Coffee.

Bradley Bruce (right) at the 2021 Kittrell Pitch Competition.

Bradley Bruce (right) with his co-presenter at the 2021 Kittrell Pitch Competition.

He and a friend from his church congregation, Cory Alexander, were sitting on his rooftop, pitching ideas when they thought about coffee being “the great unifier.” The idea for a neighborhood coffee shop was born!

The shop offers a variety of traditional espresso-based coffees, bagels and breakfast bites, a self-serve tap wall and the fan-favorite blue matcha latte.

While Nashville is full of terrific coffee shops, All People Coffee stands out from the rest for a number of reasons. One of only a few Black-owned coffee shops in the city, it is located in the neighborhood of Cleveland Park, where Bruce lives and described as a “coffee desert” when he pitched the idea for the shop at Lipscomb’s Kittrell Pitch Competition. He won second place and $5,000 in funding for the venture.

It is a for-profit business that takes very seriously its coffee craft and high-quality, mainly locally-produced food items but it is equally intentional about creating a space where everyone is comfortable coming as they are and staying for a while. 

Bruce and Alexander open the shop’s doors for special events and host poetry and live music nights. An artist cooperative has been born within the shop. 

Partnering with a neighborhood school, they give educators a discount and have invited students and parents to come for a demonstration on how lattes are made. They also provide coffee for a couple of nearby churches.

“I had always loved the idea of a coffee shop and starting one,” said Bruce. “I think there is a lot of history and heritage in coffee. It originated as a drink for black and brown folks. I wanted to highlight that and represent the African American community from a coffee shop perspective.”

Bradley Bruce standing beside podium while another student presents her pitch.

Kittrell Pitch Competition 2021

Bruce says that he learned a lot about marketing while earning his MHA degree in the College of Business and took the opportunity to tap into Lipscomb’s business faculty expertise. 

“I was able to ask a lot of questions of the faculty,” says Bruce. “They poured into the idea and worked with me on areas of opportunity where we could improve.”

All People Coffee has been open for about a year and a half and Bruce says “everything is going well so far.” They have acquired a coffee trailer and are exploring options for a mobile coffee business.