Saturday, May 4, 2013

Birth of a Tea Room - Prologue

I thought I would chronicle the move from our wonderful shop on Monroe St. to our new location on W. Sylvania Ave.  It's not quite as simple as moving from point A to point B. There's so much to be done in order to prepare the space.  I thought it might be interesting for others to see what all happens to bring a new shop into existence.
So, here's a shot of what our beautiful shop looked like right before we had to start tearing it down.  Within a matter of days, we went from this...
to this!!!
We sold all but about a dozen bags of tea (we usually have over 1000 bags on the shelves)!  It was cold, nasty and the end of February when we had to move.  And, since our planned new location fell through at the last minute, everything--merchandise, supplies, appliances, shelving and fixtures, sinks, tables and chairs, plants, signs, my desk, files and office equipment, over 150 teas in kilo sized bags, my extensive teapot collection, and everything else--had to be stored until we found a suitable new home.  Nightmare is the word that comes to mind!
But, we were determined to rise from the ashes again, and the search was on to find our new home.  The first place was quite nice--we met with the owner, agreed on all the details, and shook hands on the deal.  Later, he backed out, leaving us in a spot.  A hand shake used to mean something--so much for integrity. One perfect spot 4 doors down from where we were wouldn't rent because the building owner didn't want to put the money into it to replace the broken furnace.  I even offered to do that in lieu of rent the first year, but they just dragged their feet so we moved on.
One by one another dozen or more potential places fell through.  One was a medical suite broken up into lots of small rooms.  The owner thought he would "sit on it" until another medical business came along.  Another great location had the space broken up between main floor and downstairs, where the bathroom was.  Too many steps for my (and others') arthritic knees!  Others spaces were too large or too small or too expensive. 
And then, one day, my wonderful brother (a retired carpenter who has helped me immensely with each shop incarnation) and I checked out the W. Sylvania spot.  The square footage was listed as almost exactly what we had on Monroe St.  A beverage type business had just moved out, so the plumbing for all the required sinks and ice machine was already in place--a major plus.  Upon measuring it out, we found it was actually over 100 sq. ft. smaller!  But, with lots of floor plan revisions, we decided we could make it fit. 
And, so, it begins... 

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