Butte College SBDC

Chico Chai

“I’ve been lucky enough to have great advice from the SBDC at every big juncture in my business, from planning, to start, to business, to now 16 years later, to expansion. From marketing to financial planning, the help I’ve received from the SBDC has been essential.”

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Chico Chai

Company Profile

Sarah Adams started Chico Chai in 2004, selling chai at the local farmers’ market and to a few local cafes. It’s now served at many fine coffee-houses all over Northern California.  She makes her version of masala chai (a traditional Indian spiced tea) by hand in small batches. Chico Chai is unique from other commercial brands in that it’s made from fresh-ground organic spices and fair trade tea, very lightly sweetened with organic sugar, and made fresh weekly.


In late 2019, Sarah Adams, owner of Chico Chai and a long time client of Butte College SBDC, came to the SBDC for assistance with completing her business plan and projections to access capital to expand her business which included moving to a new location, adding production capacity, and a retail location.  In March, Ms. Adams was in the final stages of her bank loan approval and COVID-19 pandemic hit leaving her to pivot her business model to address the “Stay-At-Home” governor’s order instead of the expansion that she was planning.


Butte College SBDC business consultant worked with Ms. Adams to renegotiate her lease for a more acceptable term based on her expansion needs, complete her business plan and projections to meet the bank loan requirements, and pivot the loan to that of the SBA Loan and Grant products to address COVID-19 impact on the business.    


Chico Chai was approved for SBA Loan and Grant Products (EIDL & PPP) to address COVID-19 impact, the business retained 7 employees as a result, and secured a lease to begin addressing expansion needs.