In honor of Black History Month, Visit Clarksville sat down with five community members to share their stories, their inspirations, and their messages. This four-part series highlights business owners whose impact on the community goes far beyond their storefronts. Whether that is by painting inspiring murals, providing opportunities for small businesses, mentoring students in local schools, or feeding shelters, these leaders are going above and beyond to serve Clarksville-Montgomery County.

Business: Pinky's Up Afternoon Tea

Pinky's Up Owners Amber and Serveen

Tell us about Pinky's Up Afternoon Tea.

Serveen – I am from England and Amber is from New York. She did not like any of the English food except for afternoon tea. We would do afternoon tea at home for friends and family. One day, Amber said we should open a little café. She went to lunch and bumped into Ava Freeman and that is how we started. We opened in Higher Level on Franklin Plaza in October 2022. Our goal was to have this quant café where mothers could get away and enjoy a cup of tea and a couple of scones, but mothers wanted to bring their daughter or granddaughter. So we thought we should change the demographic of the people we expected to be there. Now we are in a larger space and our demographic is everyone from 2 years old to 82 years old.

What would you like visitors to know about Pinky’s Up Afternoon Tea?

You can just be yourself. We have ladies that come in dressed to the nines with the hat and the gloves and the nice dresses. We also have ladies come in wearing sweatpants and t-shirts. You can have a quick grab-and-go burger, or you can have the full tea experience whether it is afternoon tea, high tea, or our brunch tea. We offer full bar service so you can also get cocktails.

We are trying to create a fun space where you can do as you wish. If you want to have a couple of fun cocktails with your girls then by all means do so! On the other end of the restaurant, there may be a grandmother having tea time with her daughter and granddaughter. We want everyone to know that everyone is welcome whether you are Black, White, Hispanic, Korean, or whatever. Everyone is welcome.

What is your message to young entrepreneurs?

Amber – You can talk about it all day, but you have to step out and do it. Trust in God and let that work. It’s better to try than not to try. If you have a goal or a dream you want to do in life, just do it.

Serveen – It can be scary. It was scary when we opened up the first location. It was scarier when we moved here. We are very spiritual people so we prayed about it, and then we stepped out on faith. You step out on faith, but you have to put forth the work. You cannot just talk about it. You have to put in the action and walk it.

Is there someone in Clarksville who has positively impacted you?

Serveen – Pastor Jimmy Terry. I know he is no longer with us, and I did not have many one-on-one conversations with him, but just seeing him every year with the honk for Jesus signs, and him having the church and the school. He is someone I will never forget. I always think about him during Christmas.

Amber – Ben Stanley. He took a chance on us. He didn’t even know us and he believed in us.

Serveen – Ben probably doesn’t even know the impact he has on us. He is with My Place Realty and is just a great guy. From the moment we met him, he has been that person to us.

Who inspires you today?

Amber – My brother inspires me because he is a firefighter, a photographer, and a barber. When he says he is going to do something, he does it. Another person is Sophie, Serveen’s sister, who has a nonprofit called D.I.G. – Doing Impeccable Greatness. Her goal is to provide resources to children who have left the foster care system but need additional support. For Thanksgiving, she cooks enough with the intention of feeding the homeless. She has always been the type of person to give back.

Serveen – We have people in our immediate circle who are constantly trying to give back. Dwight and Latanya Jemison, if anything happens, they are there. They may not even know this family, but if they see it online or someone reaches out then they are on it. We try to surround ourselves with people like that, and when people cross our paths, we try to pull them into that same mindset. Support each other and win.

Besides your business, how are you involved in the local community?

We are part of Art Walk and host local artists. We open our space to other businesses to let them know they are welcome to come use the space or pick our brains for ideas. We have the entire building so we have opened up the lower level for suites and pop-up events with local business owners. We are involved with Black Clarksville. We do a lot of things with children. We own a daycare. We have hosted field trips and events for First Presbyterian's preschool. We try to give back as much as we can.

What makes Clarksville unique?

The diversity and the big city yet small town feel that you get. If you have been here a long time, you see the growth, but it is still homely. You still know people. It still gives you that small-town feel. It is like Cheers, where everyone knows your name.

What is your message to potential visitors?

Clarksville is a fun town! Check out what is going on and plan accordingly. There are so many different businesses you can visit and so many adventures in Clarksville both indoors and outdoors. You don’t have to go to Nashville. There is stuff to do in Clarksville and it is so much cheaper. And we are friendlier!

Check back next week for the final spotlight in this four-part series.