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Move Over Instacart: Former HBCU Frat Brothers Launch Country’s First Black-Owned Alcohol Delivery Service

Navarr Grevious and Mikael Pyles started their journey together as Clark Atlanta University students and fraternity brothers. Those joint experiences helped cement their bond as brothers and catapult their future as business owners.

Less than a decade after graduation, Grevious and Pyles became co-founders of QuikLiq, a late-night liquor delivery service located in Miami, Florida. It’s the country’s first Black-owned alcohol delivery service. No need to bring along a six-pack of beer or bottles of wine to your next party; QuikLiq does it for you. And it’s as easy as ordering a pizza. But what sets this digital marketplace apart from other food delivery services with liquor on its menu? From Pyles’ perspective, it’s “mom and pop liquor stores.” 

QuikLiq founders Mikael Pyles (left) and Navarr Grevious Photo courtesy of QuikLiq

“We partner with those liquor stores to deliver alcohol in the areas we operate in,” said Pyles, QuikLiq’s president and chief strategy officer. “We go in and help these stores establish a digital footprint, which also gives us local resonance and a local focus on the communities we operate in.”

Many of these stores that QuikLiq partners with are B or C-level accounts usually passed down from generation to generation. Pyles and Grevious make a point to work with family-operated businesses or independent business owners to help bring revenue to the community.

In addition to becoming a nationwide service, they also want to strengthen ties to marginalized communities and give back through internships and mentorship. 

QuikLiq owners also says they stay ahead of their competitors by partnering with other businesses they know could use their services, such as yacht clubs and spas. They often provide the beer or liquor for large events and make an effort to maintain those relationships. 

HBCUs Are Where It’s At

These Kappa Alpha Psi brothers also attribute a lot of their success to their education and the solid Black community they were able to build during their collegiate years. Many people part of their QuikLiq team are from Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University. 

College “has taught me a lot of things,” Grevious, QuikLiq’s CEO and co-founder, told Finurah. “And when things get hard, the motto that QuikLiq has goes, ‘Find a way to keep it going.’ And that’s literally what we’ve done.” 

Going to an HBCU also allowed them to witness Black success on a scale they weren’t used to, they said.

“There’s a community of excellence that comes from an HBCU, and it’s something that, growing up, I did not have a chance to see in television or magazines,” Pyles said. “Seeing multitudes of Black and brown individuals achieving at a high level showed me that Black and brown people are just as great.”

After graduating college and entering corporate America, Grievous and Pyles knew they wanted more. So, after a long day at their respective nine-to-five workplaces, they called each other up to go over business ideas.

“I was like, ‘I’ll go first,’ ” Grevious said. ” ‘I have a delivery idea. Instead of just pizza, we deliver alcohol.’ And I’m like, ‘hello, hello.’ And then he (Pyles) finally picked the phone back up and is like, ‘Bro, I literally had the exact same idea.’ So it was truly divine intervention.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Teach Yourself New Skills

For QuikLiq to become what it is today, there were technical and digital aspects of its development Grievous and Pyles had to grasp. 

“Coding and research development is a huge and instrumental part,” Grevious said. “And for us not being technicals, engineers, or developers, that was, for me, the biggest struggle. It’s been the hardest hurdle for us to overcome, so I had to educate myself a lot.”

Consistency and Discipline Will Sustain Your Business

Building QuikLiq was not easy, but the owners’ drive and commitment to their vision helped them stay afloat. 

“Keep going when things get harder, and you can’t let the naysayers or the haters criticize you because that can take you away from building your dreams,” Pyles said. “If you keep on chipping away at your dreams or your business endeavors that you’re working on, the results will be there. I’m a firm believer that if you put the work in, you will see the results.” 

For Pyles, QuikLiq has been much more than a business endeavor. It’s helped him better understand who he is.

“You learn a lot about who you are,” Pyles said. “You learn a lot about your constitution as human beings; you know what motivates you, inspires you, and causes you to feel defeated.”

He encourages young business owners to take the first step because “imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” Stepping out of his comfort zone has not only given him and Grevious a thriving business, but has strengthened the faith they have in themselves and their dreams. 

To deal with the growing pains of business, Grievous had to embrace the struggle. 

“Starting a business, it’s a tough journey,” he said. “If it were easy, everybody would do it, right? But it is extremely fulfilling and gratifying. Something that we say, you know, my fraternity, is that ‘Pressure, even the best type, grows diamonds,’ right?”

Connecting Outside of Your Circle Makes a Difference

For Grievous, networking was key to their company’s sucess and finding the support they needed. 

“I think if you’re running a business, you have to be entranced with the industry and the states that you’re trying to grow your business into, and so networking, going to events, and being as visible as possible will definitely help you scale and grow and be where you want to be,” Grievous said.

Grievous has gotten the opportunity to be in rooms with people he never thought he’d be in. 

“We’ve delivered multiple times to NBA players, and we actually were the alcohol provider for a T-Pain collaboration with Elle Magazine for his cookbook that dropped recently,” Pyles said. “We have been very fortunate to raise our profile and align with many industry influencers.”

Growth is Always on the Horizon

Pyles and Grevious started QuikLiq in Miami, but now have partnerships in regions across Florida and the Southeast. By June 2022, they plan on expanding to Atlanta.

“We are super blessed and very proud of our success even though we still are working hard and have a long way to go,” Grievous said. “There’s just so much behind the scenes that people don’t see.”

Their primary goal, however, is to make QuikLiq a household name. 

“When you think of getting miscellaneous items delivered to you, you think of Amazon,” Pyles said. “Well, when you think of alcohol delivery, we want you to think of QuikLiq.” 

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