Tea storefront still open for business, booming online
Thursday, Feb 08, 2018 06:00 am
Tea lovers alarmed that the Cochrane mainstay store Tea … And Other Things is no longer at its street side 110 2nd Ave West locale need not fret.
Teaphiles need only venture down the boardwalk of the same building to the last door on the left where the tea store, now called Tea Hippie, is located on the lower level.
As businesses continue to shutter in the face of rising operational costs and a challenging economic climate, this may lead locals to jump to conclusions but the family-owned tea business is not another story to be added to the pile.
The decision to downsize and focus online has been in the works for Kelly Joyner and daughter and business partner Alison Tamko for five years.
“Five years ago we went to Nova Scotia for a holiday and I said to Alison – let’s get the online store going and in five years, open out here,” said Joyner, prairie-born-and-raised who is simply looking for a change of pace and new beginnings.
Thanks to considerable success with their online business, teahippie.com, which ships their 350 varieties of aromatic and soothing loose-leaf teas to a growing client base across North America, the duo’s dream is coming true.
While Tea Hippie has been taking off, so has another element of the business – expanding into the expo and convention market, testing the waters at last year’s Calgary and Edmonton comic conventions, where they will return again this year.
Available through their online Etsy store under “Tea Hippies”, the pair are gaining quick steam with their pop culture line of teas – blended specifically for the fables they are named for.
“We have an entire Harry Potter line of teas – including the four houses,” said Joyner, with reference to the four schools of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that is well-known to J.K. Rowling fandom.
“When you sip that wonderful tea, you remember and reflect on your favourite movie or book it’s named after,” said Joyner, a self-professed “pop culture geek” who credits the creative labeling of the pop culture line to her daughter.
Growing up in the tea business, Alison said she never planned to partner with her mom and get into blending and branding of assorted leafs.
“It just kind of happened … my mom says I’m the goofy side of the business,” laughed Tamko.
The mother-daughter team continues to keep busy blending, packaging and shipping and still require a space to do so. The lower level store will be open until Joyner’s Cochrane home is sold and they pack up their two dogs and head east.
Joyner said it’s not early to predict whether she will open up another retail storefront once relocating out east, where they will continue to focus on their online business with expanded worldwide shipping and delving into the festival and convention market throughout the region.
“I love standing on the other side of the counter and talking to people, so I may miss that.”
Joyner opened her first location of Tea … And Other Things along First Avenue 15 years ago, moving into the Second Avenue storefront eight years ago.
The name change is because there are no longer “other things” – collectibles, teapots and used books and because the name aligns with the online site.
To learn more, stop by the store which is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., call/text 403-862-4861 or order online.