By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively.
Small Business:
Sunni Gilliam
Interview Date:
Scroll to Read
Published on

"I used to be an avid coffee drinker; my fuel was caffeine.

When I started out in the restaurant business, I was hostessing a couple days a week. I worked my way up, moving from one restaurant to another. Soon I was the reservations manager, then the assistant manager, and so on. 

Sometimes I wouldn’t leave the restaurant until between midnight and two o’clock in the morning, and I felt I had to keep up with the pace of the restaurant business. 

I would drink triple shot lattes at least three times a day and coffee throughout the day. That went on until I started having stomach issues about 5 years in. It was so bad at one point that my doctor told me I had to lay off the caffeine.

That was a big awakening moment for me. It made me realize that my health was much more important than the caffeine rush I was addicted to.

It was a slow transition off of the caffeine. You can’t go cold turkey — you have to wean yourself off. Fortunately, the restaurant I managed at the time had a loose leaf tea program. That’s what introduced me to tea."

"It opened up a whole new world for me. I discovered loose leaf tea, which is totally different. It’s just delicious. And I realized that, at least at the time, teabags were the beginning and end of someone’s tea experience.

Back when I was drinking coffee as frequently as I was, I had written a business plan for a coffee house. These were the places I used to visit to spend time with friends, and I said, “If I ever decide to open my own place, I would like to replicate this,” because it was such a great community.

So, that’s kind of how the ball on Teavolve started rolling. I still like the flavor of coffee, but I don't drink as much as I used to!”

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
Teavolve is a cafe based in Harbor East. It has grown to become a neighborhood favorite, a spot for feel-good fare and some of the best shrimp and grits in the city. They also serve plant-based and gluten-free food.
Business Socials