Trez V. Pugh, III is the founder & CEO of Sip & Savor Chicago, Inc. They are a well-known establishment in the community. Sip & Savor provides what Trez Pugh calls the five c’s: crisp, clean, classy, consistent, and customer service. Sip & Savor’s motto is “Where Coffee and Community Meet.” Currently, there are three Chicago Sip & Savor locations in Bronzeville, Hyde Park, and Rosenwald. He is also looking to expand to Matteson, IL. Trez Pugh is a retired federal agent who drew upon his years of experience to become a leader, strong role model, and staple in the community.
How can we support Sip & Savor and other black businesses?
Trez Pugh: Appreciation and blessings are not always monetary. I want people to be understanding and patient during this time. It is a difficult time for us all. Everyone can help by patronizing our place of business. They can also let our employees know they are appreciated. Many of my employees are single parents. They are making sacrifices for our business and serving others in various capacities. If the community only knew how many sacrifices businesses owners have made. I create jobs, which is challenging in itself. I wish to encourage and maintain all black businesses’ support in any way possible. I urge others to partner and collaborate to help us survive as a community.
What are your top-selling products during the Holiday Season?
Trez Pugh: The favorite and top sellers are gift cards, the Carmel Royals, German Chocolate Mochas, the Mocha Bama, and an occasional pairing of danishes, bagels, or croissants. What makes my products unique is that they come from Africa (Tanzania, Ghana, etc.). I make sure my growers and pickers get a fair wage. My growers must have good living conditions. My roasted coffee and teas are high-end, and my coffee houses’ atmosphere is comfortable and cozy. There is a fireplace, high speed internet, soulful and sultry music, and great vibes.
I wanted Sip and Savor to be an incubator, a nice and cozy coffee house, and a great networking community, like a modern-day “Cheers.” Black people love to congregate, network, tell stories, gossip, and laugh. I call my place the “Ear Hustle Cafe.” Anyone can listen in on the conversation and discuss the day’s topics and network in this safe environment. The discussion will pique your interest. I am honored that people choose my place to stir conversation and create long-lasting memories and relationships.
As a male black business owner and leader in the community, what advice would you give people during this time? /
Trez Pugh Right now, many people have PTSD. It is hard not to go out and see loved ones. I have customers that want to come in and congregate. I try to emphasize to them the importance of staying safe. I let them know we appreciate them for patronizing our business and supporting us in any way they can.
Being empathetic and knowing how to work with people is essential trait to keep in your “toolbox.” I encourage great communication from my staff and as well as myself. I am just an ordinary guy that runs a business and wants the best service possible.
What are some resources to help with obstacles or struggles in running a business?
Find pop-ups to rent for minimal prices. I helped other restaurant owners temporarily. Create a frugal way of doing things like keeping the lights off when nobody is in the rooms.
The best way to survive is to remember; we are all in this together.
For more information on Sip & Savor, visit their website at www.sipandsavorchicago.com