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Memphis Grindhouse Coffee - National Small Business Week Spotlight

By Writing by Design Media, Inc. Staff

In 2020, Memphis Grindhouse Coffee was featured in the Memphis Small Business Quarterly (MSBQ) digital platform.

In a previous interview with freelance writer, Jennifer Sharp, Dwyane Chaffen and Rick Askew stated that they always wanted to open up a coffee shop, so parents could have a chance to read to their children.

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged business owners to rethink 'doing business.' The government 'shutdown' shifted business operations for all small business owners.

Chaffen and Askew started with an online business because they could not get funding for a brick-and-mortar.

"Our business model is mainly e-commerce. During the (COVID-19) pandemic, our business grew and sales increased since everyone was forced to stay home. We were able to introduce our brand to new people. Many people found us online across social media," said Chaffen.

Maintaining an online presence has not been a challenge, but they have encountered other challenges on the journey.

"Learning that you always have to reevaluate your business model to make it as efficient as possible. Since coffee is heavy, shipping has been our biggest challenge. We started our business using the US Postal Service but quickly learned that they will absolutely KILL YOUR BUSINESS," said Chaffen.

Rick Askew and Dwayne Chaffen | Courtesy photo

"We actually lost a few customers because of slow shipping times. We lost money having to replace "lost or damaged" coffee orders during shipping so we knew we had to change."

The co-owners decided to rethink their options and chose UPS to maintain good customer relations.

The U. S. Small Business Administration recognizes small business owners from April 30 - May 6, according to the website. The SBA offers free training workshops and resources for small business owners. Each state has a district office.

"We are voracious readers and are always studying our industry. We always seek to learn from other business owners and mentors to learn from their mistakes. We also utilized free resources and mentorship from the SBA and our bank," said Askew.

With an emphasis on small business development and growth, the co-owners continuously focus on 'fine tuning' their business.

"We are always seeking creative ways to market our coffee. Marketing requires spending money in the right places. After doing thorough research, we understand who our customer is. Marketing to our customer base will definitely help us grow!," said Askew.

To learn more about Memphis Grindhouse Coffee, visit

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