Monique Greenwood Shares Her Startup Story On Akwaaba

Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns is the upscale lodging collection owned by husband and wife team Glenn Pogue and Monique Greenwood. The couple fell in love with inns when they stayed at their first bed and breakfast back in the early ’90s. As guests, they enjoyed the hominess and intimacy of the B&B experience, and Monique quickly discovered that innkeeping combined all of her personal passions – architecture and interior decorating, entertaining and meeting new people, and helping others create wonderful, lasting memories. She serves as president and CEO of the company.

The Idea

While driving down a block one day in her Brooklyn community, Monique had a brainstorm – “why not create a bed-and-breakfast right here in our own neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant?” Glenn agreed that Brooklyn – which would be the fourth largest city in the country if it were a city unto itself – had no major hotels at the time, and their bed and breakfast idea just might work!
Brooklyn’s Akwaaba Mansion opens in 1995

Both Glenn and Monique were born in Washington, D.C., and have great affection for the city. The two decided to return home in October 2003, when they purchased The Brenton Bed and Breakfast, an existing eight-room inn in an elegant five-story, townhouse mansion in Dupont Circle. Located in the heart of the city, The Brenton is now Akwaaba D.C., a grand inn decorated with a literary theme. Monique tapped into her love of books when creating guestrooms named after authors like Langston Hughes and Toni Morrison, or favorite genres, including romance and poetry. The brownstone, built in the 1890s, boasts elaborate woodwork, ornate fireplaces and countless original architectural details. “Bringing Akwaaba D.C. to life is a wonderful love story,” says Monique, author of the best-selling book “Having What Matters.”She’s also the editor-in-chief of Essence

Shopping trail “I buy locally at the antique shops on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue, and when I travel. My antique gardening tools [below] are from Ghana and I bought my dining room chairs in North Carolina.”
Staying in the hood “My mother birthed me in Washington, D.C., but I feel I was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant. I moved here right after college and just fell in love with the brownstones and the brown people who live in those brownstones.”

Guilty pleasures “Buying antiques and doing house tours. I love looking at other people’s homes.”