An interview with Monique Greenwood, CEO of Akwaaba Mansionbed & breakfast in Brooklyn and other East Coast inns.
What inspired you to open Akwaaba?
Akwaaba tapped into all my passions: decorating, entertaining, and real-estate investing. When we opened in 1996, Brooklyn had few hotels—I didn’t think it would be difficult to put heads on beds. We’ve added a new location about every three years, and we just passed $1 million in revenue.
What has helped your business thrive?
We were very proactive in helping to invite new businesses to the area. I bought six storefronts, and with friends we opened a restaurant, a coffeehouse, a bookstore and an antiques store. It sent a message that the community was viable and would support business.
How do you keep challenging yourself to expand?
We’re about to open our biggest project to date: a boutique resort in a converted Woolworth estate in Pennsylvania. I think about my grandmother, who was never afraid to embrace change. She passed away last year at 101, and she told me, “I remember when I couldn’t sit at the counter at Woolworth’s. And now my baby girl’s going to be up in their house.”