Meet the New Jersey Woman Who Owns Over $200 Million in Real Estate and Several IHOP Franchises

Adelicia Caree

New Jersey entrepreneur Adenah Bayou has built her American dream by acquiring a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio and restaurant ventures. Bayou came to the United States at the age of 13. She escaped the civil war in Liberia and set out on a mission to create a better life […]

New Jersey entrepreneur Adenah Bayou has built her American dream by acquiring a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio and restaurant ventures.

Bayou came to the United States at the age of 13. She escaped the civil war in Liberia and set out on a mission to create a better life for herself. She’s exceeded expectations, becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in New Jersey.

“For me, passion is a key ingredient for success in business,” Bayou shared in an interview with Black Enterprise. “I am also a very hard worker, and once I make up my mind to do something, I immerse myself in it and figure out how to succeed. Also, having gone through so much in my life, I understand the value of taking a risk, and I am not afraid to take risks.”

From Banking to Real Estate Entrepreneur in New Jersey

After graduating from college, Bayou started her career in banking and climbed the corporate ladder. However, she knew there would be limitations to her success as a Black woman. Therefore, she transitioned to entrepreneurship to pave her own path.

While working at the bank, she purchased her first home as an investment property. She leveraged the success of her first investment to expand her real state portfolio with more properties and larger sites.

After mastering the process of buying, selling, and renting properties, Bayou transitioned into real estate development. In 2012, she entered a partnership to transform the former Irvington General Hospital site into a residential and retail community.

“Real estate development was a natural progression, especially given my interest in economic development,” says Bayou. “I saw urban redevelopment as a vehicle to assist in the economic revitalization of my community on a larger scale.”

According to Shoppe Black, Bayou has now amassed a $220  million real estate development portfolio of commercial and residential properties in New Jersey.

Breaking into the Restaurant Industry

Bayou used the profits generated from her real estate ventures to fund her goals of opening an IHOP in New Jersey. At 27, she became one of the youngest IHOP franchisees in the United States. By 2010, her IHOP franchise was one of the most profitable in the Northeast.

Now, Bayou owns and operates multiple IHOP franchises all over New Jersey. Her success has led her to become one of the largest employers in her Township.

“One of the programs I want to do is invite women, particularly Black women, into the franchise process,” says Bayou. “The way you deliver change in a community is by giving people access to economic opportunity.”

In 2017, Bayou decided to expand her footprint in the restaurant industry. She teamed up with a friend and opened her own restaurant, Cornbread, in Maplewood, New Jersey. In 2019, she partnered with Walmart to expand her signature line of restaurants to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with locations in Walmart stores in West Mifflin, Greensburg, and Tarentum.

Success in Real Estate, Restaurants, and Life

Bayou’s extraordinary accomplishments have landed her many distinguished opportunities and awards. In 2015, she was appointed to the Advisory Council on Small Business and Agriculture for the Federal Reserve Bank of New Yor. She was also named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list. In 2019, the National Restaurant Association presented Bayou with the Face of Diversity Award.

For those who have a business idea or want to turn their goals into reality, Bayou offers these words of wisdom: “There is no right time to start anything. Start now, don’t quit, and know your “why.” There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. But you have to keep walking. Rome wasn’t built in one day, but they were working every day.”

Join Black Enterprise for its inaugural Wealth Building & Real Estate Summit (A Virtual Experience) on April 22, 2021. Register here.

 

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