Black Entrepreneur Spotlight Series
We would greatly appreciate it if you could tell us a little about your company.
Sip & Savor is a community based Coffee house, that caters to all people from all walks of life. Our tagline is “Where Coffee and Community Meet.” Our shop offers coffees from the continents of Africa and South America that embodies the ultimate in taste. We offer over 30 different herbal teas ranging from black, red, white, and green.
Our décor is very relaxing, we have faux finish walls, art featured by local artists on the walls, hardwood floors, and a private enclosed patio for entertainment. Our venues are available for private events i.e. baby showers, birthday parties, anniversaries, and meetings.
It’s not unusual to walk into our shop and see the Mayor of the city, pro ball players, real estate professionals, marketing directors, housewives, teachers, or even the neighborhood homeless guy sitting next to each other having an intense and thought provoking conversation. The thing I take most pride in is we treat everyone of those people previously mentioned exactly the same….with dignity and respect. Our motto is based on the 3 C’s, Crisp, Clean, Classy, Consistent, Customer Service!
What was your child hood aspirations?
My childhood aspirations were really just to work hard, live a clean honest life, raise a family and hopefully make my mom and dad proud. The whole entrepreneur piece kind of came in mind after I ventured into the real estate investment game. After doing a ton of research and speaking to people who were already investing, I thought this would work for me.
The coffee house thing was kind of a fluke, a friend of mine needed some financial help along with a commercial space to start his shop and of course I was lured into becoming majority partner. After a few years under the first coffee shop named Bronzeville Coffee House, we parted ways and I started my own brand of Sip & Savor.
Can you give our readers a quick answer on business advice?
My quick answer to your readers on business advice would be the following…take your time, do research on whatever your business is, keep your credit on point, stay humble, and surround yourself with honest people who have you and your company’s best interest at heart!
What was your toughest challenge?
My toughest challenge as a business owner is two-fold. One is obtaining enough capital to cover all the costs associated with running a brick and mortar spot. One has to keep in mind you have gas, light, water, insurance, mortgage, taxes, vendors, accountant, attorney, and the list goes on and on. The second challenge is time, as an entrepreneur especially in my case because I still work my full time day job, time is very limited and must be used wisely.
Trez V. Pugh, III is the Founder & CEO of Sip and Savor, Inc., a company that runs high-end coffee houses in the Bronzeville and Hyde Park neighborhoods in Chicago. Pugh, in addition to being the Chief Executive Officer, works a full-time job for the U.S. Government. His education consists of a Bachelor of Science in Information and Decision Sciences, with a minor in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Pugh began his career in 1982 working for the Social Security Administration as a Claims Clerk, after spending a year in this position, Pugh enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After a four-year tour of duty in places such as California, North Carolina, Japan, and Korea. Pugh returned to the Social Security Administration for a brief moment only to be hired by the United States Postal Service. Pugh rose through the ranks of Postal management fairly quick holding positions in transportation, finance, quality control, operations, and strategic planning all while enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a full time student.
Pugh has appeared on WVON and WBEZ radio stations as a guest speaker on their business round table segments, he has also been interviewed by Metro-Mix, Sun-Times, Tribune, Indigo, Time Out, DNA Info and Fresh Cup on topics ranging from business start-up costs, employee empowerment, challenges facing entrepreneurs’ and Micro Lending.
Today, Pugh in addition to all the other hats he wears is a staunch supporter of BAM (Becoming a Man), a program which works with youth at risk. When his schedule permits he gives speeches and mentors young business students who are interested in opening their own businesses.