When LaShonda Crockett was born, her father noted that she was small as a penny. Who knew that his lifelong term of endearment would one day become her company’s brand name. Today, Pennie’s Tea is among the local vendors selected by the new Englewood Whole Foods. The Englewood store made news not only for its location in a predominately black neighborhood, where fresh grocery store chains are scarce, but also for the fact that it selected 35 local products and suppliers.
Local tea artisan LaShonda Crockett, founder of Pennie’s Tea, is grateful for the opportunity with Whole Foods and excited that the store will propel her tasty loose teas into the spotlight and generate new customers. “The response has been phenomenal Pennie’s Tea has sold out of products for three consecutive weeks. It is over-the-moon exciting to see my brand and products, that I have so much heart for, finally make it to the shelves in a major retailer like Whole Foods,” says LaShonda. “It’s so surreal to see my picture on the store banners. All I keep thinking is, ‘Wow, I did this!’”
Pennie’s Tea offers five flavors at the Englewood Whole Foods store – Ginger Peach Blast, Island Berry, Tropical Bliss, English Breakfast and Strawberry Kisses. The most popular flavors are the Ginger Peach Blast and Strawberry Kisses. Both teas are delicious and loaded with antioxidants and other health benefits.
Pennie’s Tea curates the finest teas with the freshest ingredients for robust and exotic tastes while maximizing antioxidants and other health benefits. Each blend of Pennie’s Tea is hand-crafted. Pennie’s Tea promotes healthy choices for an abundant life so tea drinkers can spend time on things that make them happy and healthy.
LaShonda is a Chicago native with a Master of Health Administration degree. She is also a Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Massage Therapist, and a Certified Colon Therapist.
A few years ago, LaShonda was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). She tried several over-the-counter products that did not alleviate her symptoms. This prompted LaShonda to use her professional expertise to blend detox teas that would help with her IBS. Her tea blend was so successful that soon she had repeat requests from a small customer base of friends and family. LaShonda decided to launch her signature product, the Wellness Tea.
After the success of the Wellness Tea, LaShonda went to school to learn more about teas, blending techniques, and how to use wholesome ingredients. LaShonda became a Tea Master and began custom blending teas. Shortly after, Pennie’s Tea was born.
LaShonda has a passion for flavorful, healthy teas, as well as a desire to be socially responsible and of service to the community – one sip at a time. The partnership between Pennie’s Tea and Whole Foods is an ideal match.
“Today we are doing much more than opening the doors to a new Whole Foods. We are opening doors to a new future for the Englewood community,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at the opening ceremonies. “This store is also putting products from dozens of local suppliers on its shelves, helping turn small businesses into big businesses and creating even more economic opportunities that reach across Chicago.”
The 18,000-square-foot Englewood store located at 63rd and Halsted streets is the 27th Whole Foods store in the Chicagoland area. The Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation confirmed that a Whole Foods Demonstration Kitchen would be opening across the street.
One Englewood resident said: “I feel great because I am a Whole Foods shopper. I’m into health. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”
Another resident said: “I never in a million years thought Whole Foods – of all places – would be in Englewood. This is a shot of pride in the arm for our community.”
The Rev. James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, spoke best for the community in his invocation: “We thank God for not business as usual, but something extraordinary that eyes have not seen.”