Meet Caryn Reed. She is the co-owner of Sips Specialty Coffee. She and her husband are originally from Michigan. They both grew up South of Flint and were high school sweethearts. Job opportunities took them to the Tri-Cities in Michigan and that is where they raised their four kids. After job layoffs in 2008, the couple decided to move to Florida.
The couple really loves people and they both have a background in customer service. So they think that the friendliness of a coffee shop would be perfect. Sips Specialty Coffee is serving affordable hot and iced coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, smoothies, organic hot tea and flavored iced teas, the
shop also offers limited menu items that include home-made brownies, muffins, and biscotti. Their drive thru window makes it easy for everyone, and convenient to get your Sips necessities on the go. Drive thru during your commute to work, school, or wherever you may be going. You can expect to be greeted by a smiling face.
For Caryn, coffee is comforting, and she’s someone who wants to encourage anybody and help them get through their hard times.
Thank you, Caryn, for your love for Tampa.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: We lived at the East side of Michigan where everybody worked for General Motors. My husband work for a chemical company. In 2008, people that worked in GM lost their jobs including us. Ken made his budget for the company but they still let him go, it was quite a blow. I was in sales at that time, selling office supplies and I don’t understand what was going on. Anyway, it’s easy for me to serve the customers but I quit because my boss wanted me to be a pushy saleswoman because his numbers were dropping. The economy was going down. Ken and I took a vacation and visited my brother who lives in Florida. We still had a great time though things weren’t good here either at that time. We flew back to Michigan but it was hard to make a living there when you didn’t work for GM. We raised four kids and worked on commission, it was just tough. We wanted to get away from corporate America because we didn’t trust it anymore. My husband worked all his life in a company but they kicked him out because they could hire somebody and pay less. I knew that I like taking care of people, so I first tried a diet workshop and I realized that I really enjoyed the elderly that came in. But, they wanted me to be pushy also, and they just wanted me to sell, so it wasn’t what I wanted, so I took the money and went to see a nice school and became an nurse. I landed a third shift job making $9 an hour but I felt really sick. After all of that, we decided to moved to the Sunshine State, take out our retirement and open a coffee shop. Ken got a similar job to the one he used to work for in Michican, but it was a smaller company. In this new company, Tampa was his territory.
Q: How did it work out for you with this community?
A: It’s very hard to get the permits and takes way too long. We were just about to close before we could open, that was it, the money was gone. But, the community embraced us and liked our product. We were new here but they liked us for whatever reason.
Q: Why do you think people come here instead of Starbucks?
A: I hope that the service. I felt that our products are great so I’m not worried about that, so what we are trying to make sure is that the experience is good. I am very blessed with my employees but I am always look for somebody who genuinely loves people. I can teach anybody how to make the frozen drink or how to run an espresso machine but you can’t teach people to love people.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in North Tampa?
A: It’s been 10 years.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met that has positive impact in your life?
A: That’s hard. But I will say mom, she was the sweetest woman I ever knew, she has a big heart and really good to people.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: The world is small, don’t burn the bridges. Someone that maybe you didn’t care for, sometime in your life they’re probably going to surface again. Be nice and respect each and every one. And I believe that it starts at home so parents need to teach their children to respect everyone.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I would love to travel the USA especially the historical sites.
Q: How necessary it is knowing people in the community?
A: It’s an art, it’s very important. Yes, there’s internet but it’s absolutely dangerous to stay in front of the screen. You need to see and talk the person face to face, look at their facial expression, their body language and learned that. I always tell my barista to watch one’s body language when their talking to you because you will know how much sugar sometimes they want.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about North Tampa?
A:I love the interaction with the community and truly this is an amazing community. And I love that when I look around, I’ve got all ages.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: Still here in Sips as long as the good Lord gives me strength to get out of bed. And hoping Ken is able to retire from his day job and we’ll just have a good time.