Bayoh 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,” Bayoh 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, Bayoh 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, Bayoh 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 Bayoh. “I saw urban redevelopment as a vehicle to assist in the economic revitalization of my community on a larger scale.”
According to Shoppe Black, Bayoh has now amassed a $220 million real estate development portfolio of commercial and residential properties in New Jersey.
Breaking into the Restaurant Industry
Bayoh 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, Bayoh owns and operates multiple IHOP franchises all over New Jersey. She just opened her fourth IHOP location, making this the second location in Newark. 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 Bayoh. “The way you deliver change in a community is by giving people access to economic opportunity.”
In 2017, Bayoh 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
Bayoh’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 York. She was also named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list. In 2019, the National Restaurant Association presented Bayoh with the Face of Diversity Award.
For those who have a business idea or want to turn their goals into reality, Bayoh 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.”