76ers Select Thunder Mug Cafe for Buy Black Program
PHILADELPHIA – JAN. 13, 2022 – The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that the team has selected Thunder Mug Cafe as its second recipient of the annual 76ers Buy Black Program. This year, the Buy Black Program again received several hundred applications from local Black-owned businesses.
After opening its doors in September 2019, owner Lizette Apy has grown the cafe behind the love and support of the East Falls community where it is located. Thunder Mug Cafe serves coffee, tea and pastries at its Ridge Avenue location to numerous dedicated patrons everyday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thunder Mug offers many delicious menu items, while the vanilla oat milk latte, bacon quiche and gluten-free sweet potato muffins are among customer favorites.
Click below to listen Thunder Mug Cafe owner Lizette Apy speak about her journey to become a small business owner in a podcast with 76ers digital reporter Lauren Rosen.
In continuance of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment’s action plan and $20 million commitment to racial equity, the 76ers Buy Black program was developed to promote local, Black-owned businesses and provide entrepreneurs with expert marketing consultation, advertising value, and additional tools to succeed. HBSE is committed to providing communities in need with the power to grow from within and recognizes that supporting small businesses is vital for the sustainability of these neighborhoods.
“With leadership from Josh Harris and David Blitzer, this program was designed to help promote local Black-owned businesses that are doing great work but wouldn’t otherwise have access to a platform like the 76ers,” said David Gould, Philadelphia 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer. “We are so excited to bring Thunder Mug Cafe on as an official team partner for this season and look forward to working closely with them to grow their business over the course of the next year.”
Gould continued, “Thunder Mug has grown its business in their first two years of operation and is ready to continue doing so. We know it will greatly benefit from the assets we will provide and look forward to watching its continued success. The 76ers and Thunder Mug both put a premium on giving back to the communities they serve, and we are excited to collaborate with the Cafe to foster those shared values.”
In the first year of the Buy Black Program, the 76ers worked closely with local government nonprofits and the local African American Chamber to identify over 700 local Black-owned businesses that applied for the program, The team selected and onboarded two businesses in Girl Contracting – a female operated contracting group, and SPERGO - an apparel company owned by 16-year-old entrepreneur Trey Brown who recently received $300,000 in funding on ABC’s Shark Tank.
As an official partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Thunder Mug Cafe will receive a customized marketing strategy and activation led by the organization’s social responsibility team. This strategy will be executed utilizing the strength of 76ers platforms and resources and will be tailor-made to help grow and sustain Thunder Mug Cafe’s business.
During this process, Thunder Mug Cafe will benefit from the expert advice and marketing assets of the Clio award-winning brand and creative teams, Emmy award-winning content team and the 76ers digital, research and award-winning analytics teams. Other marketing assets include radio spots, email marketing and access to millions of fans across 76ers digital and social platforms.
“The Buy Black Program is distinctive because the program highlights and partners with Black-owned businesses,” said Lizette Apy, Thunder Mug Cafe owner. “The Buy Black Program serves as an illuminant of hope for existing and future black entrepreneurs, showing that there is support and mentorship available to strengthen and grow the Black business community. As a Black woman running her own independent business, this partnership means the world to me and the entire Thunder Mug team.”
Over the course of five years, the 76ers will contribute a combined $2.5 million, as the team continues to expand the program in order to empower diverse small businesses and their communities within their respective markets.