Oooh Wee Sweet Tea business gives back to black community
April 6, 2017
Leeandre Mahomes, freshman in LAS, is balancing more than school work this semester. He opened his Oooh Wee Sweet Tea business, located on the upstairs level of Mia Za’s, on Jan. 16, as a way to give back to the black community.
“I am a firm believer in black ownership,” Mahomes said. “This could create more opportunities for black people.”
Oooh Wee Sweet Tea is an organic sweet tea company originally founded by Mark Walker in Chicago in 2014. Walker sells his tea by the cup at pop-up tea stands in select Chicago restaurants, including Morrison’s Soul Food and Harold’s Chicken. It’s also where Andre McGowan, freshman in AHS and Mahomes employee, first tasted the tea.
“The tea is gluten free, caffeine free and it has no artificial sweetener,” Mahomes said. “It is a good plus, because not only is it delicious, but it is healthy.”
Simone Johnson, freshman in Business, said that the tea business is giving back to the black community on campus.
“Just seeing someone who is black and a freshman at the University is motivation for me,” Johnson said. “It gives the black community a lot of ambition, motivation and shows us that we can do anything if we just put our minds to it.”
Mahomes’ drive for business did not happen on his own.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial based family, Mahomes observed both the truck driving and the heating and air conditioning companies that his parents own. His stepfather was the reason he got into the sweet tea business in the first place, after his stepfather decided to open up a tea franchise as well on the west side of Chicago, Mahomes said.
The sweet tea business in Urbana is completely run by Mahomes.
“Working at Oooh Wee Sweet Tea is fun,” McGowan said. “Serving people tea is something I take pride in.”
Mahomes said he is not certain whether he is going to expand the sweet tea business or invest in a different business altogether; however, he is not opposed to opening more Oooh Wee Sweet Tea places in the future.
“(Owning a business) is a good feeling, but I want to do lot more in in the upcoming years,” Mahomes said. “I have a lot of stuff planned.”
Oooh Wee Sweet Tea offers 15 flavors including “Tropical” and “Obama.”
“The (Obama) drink is delicious, and I promise it is not because of the name,” Mahomes said. “It truly is the best flavor.
The Daily Illini previously misspelled Andre McGowan’s name and regrets this error.