Pipe'N Hot Grill Cleveland, OH
There is a champion inside you. Follow your passion and don’t let adversity stand in your way. You can make your dreams come true.”
Perseverance Powers Pipe’N Hot Grill
Angela Sharpley’s signature iced tea is poised to hit retail shelves and the e-commerce marketplace, and she couldn’t be more excited. “Our seafood, po’ boys and pineapple iced tea have helped us win competitions and ultimately the restaurant space we occupy now,” says the owner of Pipe’N Hot Grill in Cleveland. “I created the iced tea recipe a long time ago, and its reputation continues to bring people to our restaurant.”
Angela had aspired to become a restaurateur for years before her dream began to take shape. “When I was a child, my mother and I would bake cakes — 48 at a time — to send to my brothers’ Marine Corps barracks. I loved being in the kitchen and knowing we were making people happy,” she shares.
In 2010, Angela invested her life savings into opening a small restaurant, Pipe’N Hot Grill. While she built a loyal clientele almost immediately, a series of tragic events forced her to close the restaurant in 2014. Committed to reopening, Angela kept the Pipe’N Hot Grill brand in the public eye by participating in high-profile local food competitions and special events. She also enrolled in a six-month culinary and hospitality program.
“The curriculum was intense: 12 hours a day at the culinary institute, followed by studying on the bus and going to bed with my books,” Angela says. “But it was worth it: I graduated with a 4.0 and built a supportive network of mentors by connecting with local organizations including the Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio, Economic and Community Development Institute of Northern Ohio, and Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State University.”
Restaurant Challenges Lead to Retail Launch
Soon Pipe’N Hot Grill was selected as one of just seven businesses (of 185 contenders) to earn space in Cleveland’s Glenville Neighborhood Transformation Incubator Plaza, where Angela and her daughter, CEO Stésià Swain, relaunched the restaurant. Just weeks later, the pandemic emerged, limiting business to takeout and delivery. In a moment of inspiration, Angela’s thoughts turned to retail: “Looking at the tea bubbling away in the beverage dispenser, I said to Stésià, ‘What if we could get this into stores?’ Stésià said, ‘That’s perfect! If the people can’t come to us, we’ll go to them.’”
Angela plans to launch the iced tea online and has secured the commitment of a local grocery store to sell it. She is also working to connect with other retail stores that may be a good fit for her brand. “Through an incubator program designed for minority-owned brands, Navigator Lighthouse Foundation, representatives from many major retailers and other major companies are teaching us how to do business on this broader scale,” she says. “We are learning and growing each day.”
Angela continues to rely on PNC to support her growth. “A friend recommended PNC years ago; I’m so glad she did,” she says. “The people at PNC are knowledgeable and friendly, and they understand the needs of women business owners. I look forward to working with them as I grow into retail and ultimately open restaurants in Akron and Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia.”
- 2020 Neighborhood Transformation Incentive, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
- 2017, 2019 Launch Test Kitchen Food Tasting & Business Development Experience Finalist, Quicken Loans Arena
- 2013 Best of the Heights Awards Finalist, Best Minority-Owned Business, FutureHeights
- 2012 Best of the Heights Best New Business Nominee, FutureHeights
Angela mentors and inspires emerging entrepreneurs in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood with the long-term plan of providing housing, as well as culinary and cosmetology learning centers, for single, career-minded moms.
Find them on the Web: https://www.pipenhotgrill.com
More Women Entrepreneurs & Executives Who Achieve
As PNC proudly serves the financial needs of women in business, we often come across truly inspirational leaders. Read their success stories.