Despite a promising career in computer software, Greg Ubert felt restless. The Harvard University graduate found himself asking an all too common question: “What is my next step?” Ubert uprooted himself from his Chicago home, returning to his native Columbus to try to blend his passion for entrepreneurship and his love of coffee. In 1991, he moved back to his parents’ home in Columbus, Ohio and opened Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, a 2016 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award Regional Finalist.
Not knowing much more about java than his favorite brew, Ubert immediately immersed himself in the world of specialty coffee. Seeking the help of friend and local coffee guru, Ubert quickly learned the ins and outs of marketing, training, and what he calls “the dance” – that is, using the coffee shop layout to maintain efficiency. It was with his friend’s help that Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea started to develop delicious blends of coffee. Soon business was booming.
Ubert knew that if his business was going to thrive, it needed to be more than the average coffee shop. He thought that other coffee store owners could use the same tips he had been given, so he developed and began promoting the “7 Steps to Success,” the basis for Crimson Cup’s coffee franchise alternative program. Through its new Innovation Lab, the company holds classes such as “Coffee 701” and “Roasting 701” to educate other enthusiasts and prospective entrepreneurs on everything that goes into brewing coffee.
With a focus on community, Crimson Cup prioritizes giving back in a big way. On a global scale, the company empowers coffee farmers in Central and South America through Friend2Farmer, its direct trade program. The company also works with the Cancer Support Community’s Grounds for Hope program, donating more than $45,000 to cancer patients and survivors, and it sends coffee overseas and matches monetary donations to the armed forces through the nonprofit Fallen 15.