CHICAGO (CBS)– A married couple has turned into business partners after being furloughed.
As CBS 2 continues Working for Chicago through these tough times, we’re talking to a Chicago couple turning their passion into a profit in a the middle of a pandemic.READ MORE: Over 74,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Illinois Last Week Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Alicia Zyburt and Devon Owens are the real life baes behind “Bae Coffee Company.”
Alicia worked in marketing and Devon worked as a chef at a catering company.
“They weren’t able to hold on, so they ended up furloughing me,” Devon said.
Alicia said she was also furloughed and went from having her next three months planned, to nothing to do.
The couple put pen to paper to come up with a business plan to make money.
“Coffee just kind of re-bloomed from that,” Alicia said.
Coffee is how their story started six years ago at Blue Max Coffee in River Forest.
“There was this cute chef with glasses and a beard who would come in and get eight shots of espresso over ice, and I was the girl at the counter” Alicia said.
They got married a few years – and a lot of cups of coffee – later.READ MORE: 2 Killed In High-Speed Crash On Southwest Side
Devon worked at a coffee shop back in the day, too, and he was raised by a coffee connoisseur.
“She (Devon’s mom) would always say to me, ‘life’s too short for bad coffee,'” Devon said.
Devon spent the last year of his mom’s life with her when she was dying of cancer. She passed away from cancer during the pandemic, and left some money for a rainy day.
“With that beautiful blessing, we were able to kind of put ourselves through coffee school in all of this crazy down time. It was just the two of us learning at the Brew Point Workshop,” Alicia said.
They started roasting and testing while looking for additional small business lending.
And then, on the anniversary of the month they met at a coffee shop, they launched Bae Coffee Company in September.
“Before All Else, Coffee, and also we’re real life baes,” the couple said.
Real life baes, who got laid off together and are now in business together.
“If you’re working towards the same goal, it changes the way you view each other too,” Devon said. “This symbiotic relationship between husband and wife.”
Bae Coffee is local. Alicia and Devon live and work on the North Side and the roasting happens in Elmhurst. The packaging of the coffee happens here too.MORE NEWS: Seniors Can Schedule COVID Vaccine Appointments At The United Center Beginning Thursday
It’s all ethically sourced products, meaning they only work with companies that guarantee fair wages for their farmers.