by Karen E. Farley
photo by Karen E. Farley
With coffee houses, micro-breweries, and wine tasting at wineries, it was just a matter of time before tea sampling made its way to Nashville, Indiana.
On May 3, Sweetea's Tea Shop will open its doors at 225 South Van Buren Street in Coachlight Square.
Owner Laura Boyer, originally from Indianapolis, is looking forward to putting her retail experience and love of tea together to bring a new venue to Nashville.
"Tea is the next big thing," Boyer says. "It also has a lot of health benefits for everyone."
Tea was first discovered in China. According to the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project, tea is among the world's oldest and most revered beverages. It is today's most popular beverage in the world, next to water.
Located next to Chateau Thomas Winery, visitors who love wine tasting can also stop in at Sweetea's for a sample of 20 to 25 different varieties of tea.
"We will offer both hot and cold tea served for here or to go," Boyer explains. "It's not a tea room. It is more like a Starbucks concept."
Boyer makes a point to explain the difference between a tea room and a tea shop.
"A tea room is very formal and serves lunch items normally between two and four in the afternoon," she explains. "My tea shop will have counter service with tea and coffee. I will also have lemonade for the children. If someone wants hot tea for here, they can have a teapot and sit at a table."
Sweetea's Tea Shop will have tea sampling and has seating for 25 to 30 people. They will also sell cakes, cupcakes, and cookies made by Sydney Lee, owner of Sydney's Sweets. The shop will be the retail outlet for the baked goods. Sydney's Sweets is a locally owned pastry business.
"I will be providing Sweetea's with my goodies daily and will be taking special orders for cakes and large pastry orders," Lee says.
It didn't take Boyer very long to decide where to open the tea shop.
"When we were trying to decide where to open the business, we looked at a small town in Murphy, North Carolina," she says. "But we have a cabin in Brown County, grandkids in Indiana, and have always loved it here. So, we said, 'Let's do Nashville.'"
Boyer and husband Clyde, love the outdoors. There are avid hunters, hikers, and fly fishers. Both like to spend weekends in the mountains, but love Brown County.
Boyer spent several months doing research on tea. She also visited antique stores and purchased tea cups and saucers that she will use in the shop. She plans to offer birthday parties for children with hats, gloves, necklaces, and boas for dress up activities. Play tea sets will be set out on small tables.
"There will be mirrors and a television for the kids," she says. "There will also be a book shelf with books like "Alice in Wonderland," "Fancy Nancy," and other children's books. Moms can come in, relax and have tea while the kids play."
She will also offer a package for bridal showers. Private events need to be booked after hours, but parties can also be held during normal business hours. Book clubs and bible studies are encouraged to meet at the tea shop.
Boyer will carry a line of tea and tea items called Tea Forté, a company founded in 2003. The company creates tea blends with whole leaf teas, rough-cut herbs and flowers. She will also carry the kati tea brewing system, which is a ceramic tumbler with a stainless steel infuser. Customers will be able to get refills on return visits at a reduced price.
Her iced teas will be brewed using Tea-Over-Ice from Tea Forté. With this method, the tea is brewed and iced before served.
"We will also have free Wi-Fi," she adds. "Hopefully it will be a place where people will want to hang out."
The grand opening will be held on May 17 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Stop by Sweetea's Tea Shop Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit their website at <www.sweeteasteashop.com>
To contact Laura about parties, call her at (812) 988-6515, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.