At the young age of 27, Adenah Bayoh, a former West African refugee, was able to open her first IHOP franchise in New Jersey. But now at the age of 35, she owns two IHOP locations (one in Paterson, NJ and one in Irvington, NJ) and she manages more than $200 million in urban real estate projects.
How did she do it?
As a teenager, she escaped the civil w-ar in her native country of Liberia and was able to immigrate to the U.S. She went on to attend public high school in Newark, New Jersey, and then put herself through college at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she earned a degree in Business Management. After graduating, she got a job in banking, and from there, she got involved in business and investing.
Adenah told a local television station, “My story could not be possible anywhere else except for America. For someone to escape civil w-ar, come here and be given the opportunity [to] start her own business, employ and rebuild [is amazing].” She says she chose the restaurant business because she was inspired by her grandmother, who owned a restaurant in Liberia.
Not just pancakes and syrup
She is also very much involved in urban projects that are designed to rebuild poor communities in the state of New Jersey. In 2012, she partnered with two other developers to purchase the former Irvington General Hospital site, which had been vacant for nearly a decade, and transform it into an unprecedented $200 million dollar residential and retail community.
Currently, she is in pre-development on the construction of another urban renewal project that will provide 40 residential units in Irvington.
So, what’s next?
In 2017, Adenah is planning to launch Cornbread, her signature line of fast casual, farm-to-table, soul food restaurants.
To learn more about Adenah Bayoh and her business ventures, visit www.adenahbayoh.com
Watch this her in this 2011 interview: