Behind the Sign: Buddy Brew

Published on Jul 01, 2021

Behind the Sign: Buddy Brew

A business fueled by caffeine and passion

The spark that started Buddy Brew Coffee was a strong desire for both a great cup of coffee and to do some good in the world. Owners, Susan and Dave Ward share a love and passion for coffee, in fact, a coffee maker was the first gift Susan received from Dave when they were dating. Together, the pair discovered that freshly roasted, high quality, specialty grade coffee was a game-changer in taste and experience and embarked on a journey to bring this level of coffee to the place they called home—Tampa, Florida.

From one small coffee shop, Buddy Brew Coffee has grown to six café locations throughout Florida. If you aren’t located in Florida but, like the Wards, have a passion for good coffee, you can find their high-quality beans for sale on their website along with Buddy Brew Merchandise. Currently, they’ve expanded to a wholesale business where they distribute whole bean coffee and their BOLT cold brew products at Publix and Whole Foods throughout Florida.

Fun fact: Buddy Brew began as a hobby and was named after their beloved dog Buddy. Buddy represents friendship, loyalty, and unconditional love 

The coffee shop with a purpose makes a big impact on people, creating community in their shops and, in turn, outreach throughout their communities. “Valley Bank is much the same and this is another reason we’re great partners,” says Susan. The wards believe that one of the biggest challenges in running and growing a business is having access to the capital you need to grow and that their relationship with Valley has been critical to their success.

Buddy Brew has worked with Valley for the past seven years and, in the words of their relationship manager, “they’re more than a client. They are a partner to the bank.” Their relationship with Valley began with Joe Chillura, Executive Vice President and President of Commercial Lending for Florida & Alabama. Now the Wards work closely with Aaron Jimison, First Vice President, who continues to work to support the business needs of Buddy Brew as they grow. Every business has unique needs and Valley took a customized approach when Buddy Brew was a small company and have provided for them as their needs have changed.

“Brew good, do good”

Beyond coffee, Buddy Brew is passionate about connecting with their communities and inspiring hope and joy with their “Brew Good, Do Good” mission. This mission supports charities, schools and other organizations that are doing good in their community. It continues to inspire them daily as they work to transform their community and the world. The Wards love to invest in their local community—even making an impact by creating jobs and offering beautiful spaces where community can be formed over a great cup of coffee.


Grounds for celebration

Buddy Brew has grown tremendously in the past seven years and as they continue to grow, we look forward to continuing relationship with them. They would recommend Valley to other business owners because of the relationship. “They know us and our business. They have formed a true partnership with us and have a genuine interest in our success,” says Dave.  

About Behind the Sign

Each and every business impacts their community in its own way. Behind the Sign is a feature that highlights our clients’ successes in business and how a partnership with Valley helps to enable it. Follow along to hear the stories behind the signs of these businesses and learn what makes each business as unique as the community they serve. 

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