by Jarquita Brown
A few years ago, Kenesha Lewis, a native of Greenville, Mississippi, discovered that her well-designed edible fruit arrangements create smiles for many people. She remembers designing her first fruit bouquet for a church event, posting it on Facebook, and receiving many orders afterward. This was just the beginning of Kay’s Kute Fruit.
Kenesha has always been a lover of fruit and very health conscious. Her goal is to create a space in her community and state where people understand the benefits of fruit and the fun things you can do with it. Kenesha and her husband, Jason Lewis, came together and opened Kay’s Kute Fruit, a family-owned business dedicated to providing fun fruit for every occasion.
“We have so much included in Kay’s Kute Fruit,” said Kenesha. “Our services include fruit bouquets, fruit tables, dipped strawberries, lots of treats, event catering, all-natural smoothies, and so much more. Everything is fruit-related.”
Kay’s Kute Fruit now have their first physical location in Downtown Greenville. The grand opening is on April 19, 2021 at 10 a.m. CST located at 631 Washington Avenue. As the business grew for the couple, they decided it was time to operate outside of their home in a new building, and with the help of Higher Purpose Co, the couple did just that.
“Our relationship with Higher Purpose Co started after applying for the Business Fellowship Program. Being a part of the fellowship was an amazing experience. We learned a ton and were connected with so many people,” said Kenesha.
Higher Purpose Co Business Fellowship Coordinator Angela Williams said, “I am so excited about the grand opening of Kay’s Kute Fruit. Kenesha and Jason worked extremely hard throughout the program, and I truly enjoyed working with them both.”
The Higher Purpose Funding Network (HPFN) connected Jason and Kenesha to Communities Unlimited (CU), a nonprofit corporation that connects people to solutions through human connections. CU is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
With the help of CU’s Director of Research and Strategy, Deborah Temple, the couple secured a $40,000 loan for their business which was supported by a 60% guarantee through another HPFN partner RSF Social Finance. “The process of working with Deborah from Communities Unlimited was so smooth, and everything transitioned so well. We gave her everything we needed, and we were approved in a couple of weeks,” said Kenesha.
Higher Purpose Co Business Funding and Advising Coordinator Constance Brown, Esq. said, “Kenesha and Jason provided all necessary documentation that allowed us to introduce their business to our Funding Network partners, Communities Unlimited and RSF. The Lewis’ persisted through the pandemic and remained on task throughout the entire funding process. We are thrilled to see their dream come to fruition.”
Kay’s Kute Fruit now has six employees, all from Greenville. Kenesha said, “Our staff is super amazing, Keysha McKnight and Patricia Williams have been working with Kay’s for over a year, and this is Derion [Dillard], Mackenzie [Miller], and Ahkeila [Williams] first job. They are young people who are eager to work. They are super smart and coachable, and working with them is just amazing.”
Jason added, “Higher Purpose Co gave us all the tools. Although I have a business degree, operating a business versus having an education in business are two different things. It’s a different world, so Higher Purpose Co helped us navigate through those things and allowed us to build.”
The couple expressed their gratitude to the City of Greenville, Communities Unlimited, Higher Purpose Co, and their customers for the love and support. The couple ended the interview stating, “Just believe in yourself, and do it. Trust in God always. If you have a goal and a passion for something, trust it, and work at it.”
For more information about the grand opening or to shop, visit KaysKuteFruit.com or call 662-702-3532.