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From a Successful Law Firm to a Booming Tea Business

By: Jazmyne Walker
WCW Staff Writer

sheet-2A southern sweetness that cannot be forgotten but just enough zing added to let you know that it’s real; Magnolia Spice Teas is a healthy, all natural beverage alternative, uniquely flavored, and ready to drink. Unlike most other ready to drink teas which are made from liquid concentrate and water, Magnolia Spice Teas are kettle-brewed from black or green tea leaves and other natural ingredients to assure rich flavor and contribute health benefits.

After establishing Magnolia Spice Teas, Inc. in 1998, owner and founder, Calvita J. Frederick-Sowell chose to use a more traditional method for her tea-making recipes that were different from other marketed tea brands, at the time.

“It was easier to make it from powdered cream mix or liquid concentrate but I chose to tea bag tea leaves the way you would make ice tea at home. The whole purpose for my starting the business was to bring authentic sweet teas to market in a bottle”, said Frederick-Sowell.
Although Frederick-Sowell is the owner of a booming tea business, (gaining recognition in local, regional and national publications, including the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune and Black Enterprise) she has been practicing law for over 20 years.  After graduating from Howard University, Frederick-Sowell became a Staff Attorney for Ford Motor Company in Detroit, MI.  She returned to Chicago in 1982 and started Calvita J. Frederick and Associates, Attorneys At Law, “a general civil practice law firm where she attained her highest paying verdicts in cases against Chrysler Corporation and Aon Corporation.”

Frederick was serving sweet tea long before she decided to start a second successful exchange.  She started making what she now calls Autumn Nectar when she was a law student at Howard University.

“When I was a law student at Howard [University] there was a group of us from out of state, who didn’t get to go home for every holiday so for Christmas and the summer I would cook holiday dinner at my house and I would serve ice tea with it,” Said Frederick-Sowell.

Magnolia Spice Tea Inc., has won 1st place, Best Ready-to Drink Sweet Tea, at the World Tea Expo for their original Southern Style Sweet Tea and now sales spice teas, lemonade and exotic fruit nectar.Me200

Magnolia Spice Teas can be served hot or cold and can be found in major grocers about the country.  Supervalu/Albertsons; Costco, distributes through mid-west division 10 states; Kroger, distributes through 8 regional divisions including Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, North/South Carolina and Virginia; Giant-Landover Stores, in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey; Supervalu and Safeway all sale her brand.

“We are in some smaller health food stores and in vegetarian restaurants.  We also have our teas in ethnic [establishments] like Jamaican restaurants. We’ve had our struggles with the major retailers but our beverage business is not as welcomed to smaller [food-marts],” said Frederick-Sowell.

Frederick-Sowell continues to practice law but has a Magnolia Tea Room in the works to be established on the west side of Chicago.  If you haven’t already got a sip of the “real thing” she’ll be keeping The Windy City Word posted.

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