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Columbia Inspired

The 3rd's Soft Opening

On Tuesday, October 25th, The 3rd, a unique space that is part incubator, community gathering place, co-working space, training center, podcast studio, and café will open its doors to visitors during phase one of its grand opening activities. During this soft opening week, members, community partners, and invited guests can enjoy fresh coffee from Black Acres Roastery, and tea from Cured Leaves Tea - both local, Black-owned businesses. There will also be delectable baked goods from Chef Jamila Wright, culinary manager and member of The 3rd, in addition to delicious, homemade treats from Apple Core's Bake Shoppe.

In the following weeks, the cafe will be open to the public, and the menu will expand to include grab-and-go soups, sandwiches, salads, and more. In subsequent phases, the entire space will be available for rent by The 3rd members and the community. The building, formerly occupied by Lupa Italian restaurant, was reimagined and will serve as a community hub and organizational headquarters.

The 3rd is a 501(c)3 non-profit, co-created community of women of color entrepreneurs. Laura Bacon, Columbia resident, visionary, and CEO, conceived the idea of The 3rd when she noticed a gap in support services for women of color. She envisioned a community where entrepreneurs could connect, receive support, and build and grow businesses. Experience taught her that women of color face unique challenges, and through education, training, and access to additional resources, The 3rd fills a void that has existed for far too long. Members benefit from training through The 3rd University, which offers mentoring, resources, networking, and more.  

"We believe women of color need a space to build, execute, and thrive. We need access, skill building, funding, collaboration, accountability, and connectivity," says Bacon. Membership to The 3rd is open to entrepreneurs who identify as women of color who are starting a business or growing an existing one. For more information, visit The 3rd website at

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