Though it was featured on Tuesday’s episode of The Profit, there’s still no opening date for Red Beard Coffee Traders, the Wicker Park coffeeshop that’s backed by TV host and entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis. Lemonis and Phil Tadros intended to open a Bow Truss Coffee Shop at 1948 W. North Ave., but the two had a falling out that led to multiple lawsuits. Tadros added another lawsuit to the pile last week when he sued Crain’s Communications for libel.
Lemonis and Tadros are scheduled to be in court on Aug. 1, according to Cook County records, and it appears Lemonis’ counter claim was withdrawn in May. Bow Truss’ demise seemingly provided an opportunity for Lemonis to partner with Red Beard. Lemonis didn’t immediately return an email seeking an update on the coffeeshop, which is a Midwest spinoff of Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, a Southern California coffee chain that started in 2009 and now has two cafes. Lemonis and Red Beard/Bodhi owner Steve Sims haven’t shared many details on their plans, as they don’t want spoilers for their TV show. Signage on the coffeeshop had declared a spring opening.
Here’s a few highlights from Tuesday’s episode:
- Lemonis was immediately taken by Sims’ long red beard, wanting to build a new brand around it. That made Sims uncomfortable as he wanted to stay humble: “It was little hard for me to accept at first, and now we’re kind of excited about it, rolling with it.”
- Sims was in tears when describing that Lemonis would pay Red Beard’s six employees 10 percent of his initial investment in the company. It’s unclear how much money that is, but the episode made it a point to feature how important taking care of employees is to Sims. That seems a stark contrast to how Lemonis painted Tadros, who is being sued by his ex-Bow Truss employees over pay: “Yeah [Lemonis is] in business to make money like we all are, but he also cares about the people that he’s with,” Sims said.
- Lemonis talked about his branding efforts: “I really feel like there’s a way to make it feel crafty and specialty and be super premium opposed to ultra premium and I want to be build a new brand around [Sims].”
- Chicago should only be their first stop. Lemonis and Sims want to scale Red Beard nationally.