From childhood friends to specialty coffee all-starsAs part of our Black History Month celebration, Steeped is proud to partner with BLK & Bold, a specialty roasting company started by lifelong friends Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson. The two not only share a passion for specialty coffee, but also a desire to create lasting social change through pledging 5% of BLK & Bold's profits to support underserved kids across the country.
Although BLK & Bold wasn’t founded until 2018, Pernell & Rod’s history starts long before that. The pair initially met while growing up on the same block in Gary, Indiana – a working class city just outside of Chicago. The two bonded while participating in sports and after-school activities and hanging out at the local Boys & Girls Club. With strong role models around them, Pernell & Rod hoped to one day provide the same guidance and support that was given to them.
Fast forward a few years, Pernell & Rod each had their own successful careers; Rod in fundraising and Pernell in sales. Even with their respective success, something was still missing for each of them – a missing piece that wouldn’t allow them to feel truly fulfilled. After some introspection and a phone call between old friends, the beginnings of a coffee roasting company within a social impact business model was formed, a company dedicated to making purpose popular.
Since launching in 2018, Rod and Pernell have enjoyed tremendous success, growing their Des Moines, Iowa based business from roasting in Pernell’s garage to a 20,000-square-foot commercial facility. As the country’s first Black-owned, nationally-distributed coffee brand, BLK & Bold is now a leading force within the coffee industry while also giving back to children in communities not too different from their hometown.
The partnership between BLK & Bold and Steeped, two B-Corps who focus on purpose beyond profits, will further social and environmental change within the specialty coffee industry. BLK & Bold Co-Founder and CEO Pernell Cezar recently stated, “With Steeped, we can bring the bold taste of BLK & Bold to more people nationwide, and deliver even more support to our nonprofit partners, all while reducing our impact on the planet.” We are thrilled to be a small part of their journey.