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After Losing 2 Daughters, Tony Daniel Found Unique Way to Honor His ‘Angels’

Losing two children four years apart required “prayer, family, friends,” said Anthony Daniel, who now runs 7 Angels Coffee and Smoothie Cafe in Adamsville. (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)
By Sym Posey
The Birmingham Times

The number seven has special meaning for Anthony “Tony” Daniel, owner and founder of 7 Angels Coffee and Smoothie Café in Adamsville, Alabama.

“People ask all the time, ‘Where did 7 Angels come from?’ It comes from my first daughter’s death,” he said. “She was 7 years old, and her jersey number was seven. It is also the number for completion. Fast-forward five years later, I lost my other daughter. Those are my angels. I dedicated everything I do to my babies.”

Daniel lost his youngest daughter, Hadarah Daniel, who was involved in a fatal car crash, in 2012. He suffered another loss in 2016, when his 16-year-old daughter, Hy-Ayrami Daniel, died from complications with asthma. Losing two children four years apart required “prayer, family, friends,” said Daniel.

“I asked God for strength to bring me through it,” he added. “I believed that if He got me through my first daughter, He could get me through the second one.”

Daniel first opened the doors of 7 Angels in February 2022 as a small smoothie shop at a local gym in Morris, Alabama. Over time, 7 Angels evolved into a full-service café offering a wide variety of coffee, lattes, specialty coffees, healthy smoothies, and pastries.

“In April 2022, things did not work out [at the gym]. I walked out of that gym and into the doors of this building immediately afterward,” he said of the café’s current location, which was previously home to McInvale Cleaners; the building, at 12 Rex Lane in Adamsville, had been vacant for almost eight years.

Getting the Word Out

Since opening, Daniel and his wife, Cassandra Gaines, are now getting the word out.

Daniel, 49, said the business came about after he lost his youngest daughter. “She was an amazing softball player. She was so young, but she was so good. She could hit the ball all the way to the fence. You would not believe it,” he recalled. “I know she would have been a talented player today.”

After Hadarah’s death, Daniel struggled with alcoholism. “Going through a tragic event like that, I turned toward alcohol,” he said. “My then wife was in a coma for two months following the accident. She had to learn how to do everything all over again. By me drinking the way I was, it was [hurting] not only me but also my family because I had another daughter to take care of at the time. I prayed and asked God to send me in another direction and He said, ‘Go to the gym.’”

Daniel, a native of Birmingham’s Ensley community and 1992 graduate of Ensley High School, moved around from different gyms in the area until he finally found one that suited his needs.

“I went to a gym here. I went to a gym there. … I started working out more, and then I got with a coach who trained me. My passion for it grew, my love for it grew, and I grew in my training of others. I love everything about fitness,” he said.

During the pandemic and the year following, Daniel was officially certified to train others and then got the idea to open a smoothie shop.

“We knew we wanted to [set up] a smoothie bar, and the people around here like coffee, so a light bulb went off and we looked into adding coffee. I found a coffee shop to help us,” said Daniel, who reached out to Baba Java in Hoover, Alabama, which served as the official coffee of the 2022 World Games in Birmingham.

Baba Java helped train the staff at 7 Angels, as well. “They were very nice to help us out on how things go,” he said.

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Serving the Community

With the new year underway, Daniel said that 7 Angels has a lot in store. One of those things is the debut of a new mobile concession trailer: “It’s dedicated to our daughters, and we plan to put their pictures on the trailer along with our logo,” he said.

While running the mobile concession stand, Daniel also is planning to add a drive-through window at 7 Angels for smoothie and coffee lovers on the go.

In addition to handling the day-to-day activities of 7 Angels, Daniel and his wife find other ways to serve their community. They host line dancing nights, organized by Gaines, and plan to offer dance lessons to all ages. Also, during the holiday season, 7 Angels sponsored four families in the community, providing food, Christmas décor, and toys.

“Some of the good things about this community and this shop are the citizens,” said Daniel. “They have been incredibly supportive, especially [Adamsville] Mayor Pam Palmer.”

For more information about 7 Angels Coffee and Smoothie Café, visit their brick-and-mortar location at 12 Rex Lane, Adamsville, AL 35005, or follow them on Facebook at 7 Angels Coffee & Smoothie Café.