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Happy Anniversary to The Tea Table!

By Lori Bricker, MS, RD

Happy AnniversaryThis fall marks the 10th anniversary of The Tea Table, and I find myself reminiscing about our beginnings and the changes we’ve been through.

The Tea Table started as a pretty little shop in the historic “Old Town” district of Fort Collins, Colorado.  My mom and a handful of friends helped me put the shop together.  I had no idea how much there would be to do!  I distinctly recall sitting on the floor of the shop the day before we opening, putting price tags on everything and trying my best to answer the millions of questions my friends were asking–Where does this go?  How do you want this arranged?  What is the price for this?  What should we do about____?  Boy did I need a cup of tea!

When we opened we had a mere 30 teas for sale displayed in white ceramic Bee House canisters and a nice variety of English China, books, accessories, and some Asian teapots.  We had little clear sample jars for the teas so people could open the jar and smell them.  The overall flavor of the shop decidedly feminine and British.  Lots of flowery patterns on cups, pots, and accessories.  I expected most of the customers to be middle-aged women, and we certainly had our fair share of those.  They loved to come in and just wander slowly and look at every little thing.  But to my surprise, men of all ages also came in and were quite serious about the tea.

We expanded the tea selection and soon had about 100 to offer, and I think it topped off at about 130 because we were just out of space!  We were quite busy, and in the fall as the holidays neared, lines at the counter stretched to the door.  We worked hard!  In the meantime, we put up a little web site that featured just a few of our products.  Slowly we added more and more products to the site, and it became more than just “one of those things you have to have” for your business.  Soon it was actually getting some traffic.

We did that for 3 years until our lease ran out.  Retail space, for those of you who have never tried it, is dreadfully expensive.  The sad truth is that in our three years in our little shop, we never really made any money.  Something had to change, so we didn’t renew the lease and put all our efforts into the web site.  We had a big sale to get rid of items we weren’t going to carry anymore, worked out a “local pick-up” deal with the coffee shop around the corner so our local customers wouldn’t have to pay for shipping, and turned our attention to making the web site a complete storefront.  We have been thrilled that a huge number of our local customers have continued to do business with us via our online store.  Thank you!

The web site has changed and grown over the years, and we’re in a larger facility now with plenty of warehouse and office space to allow for future growth.  But we remain a very small business, and are quite happy with that arrangement.  We’ve been able to keep our prices fair by reducing our overhead and rejecting corporate ideals.  We’re not publicly traded, we don’t use other people’s money, and we don’t dream of taking over the world.  Although we’re all very excited about what the future may bring, The Tea Table started out as your neighborhood tea shop, and we have every intention of maintaining that feel, regardless of the size of the “neighborhood.”

And we would all, Lori, John, Sharon, and Cameron, like to thank our customers for your ongoing support of our endeavor.  We can’t do it without you.  Here’s to the next decade — Cheers!

13 comments to Happy Anniversary to The Tea Table!

  • Ulla

    Happy Anniversary! :)

  • Judee

    Happy Anniversary!! I cant belive its been this long.

    I really miss coming into the shop and smelling the samples you had.

    I’m glad you continued on the web :-)

  • Pat

    Happy Anniversary to the best tea store I’ve encountered! I miss the lovely little store in Fort Collins but am pleased to have the website to order from now that I’m in Albuquerque. Here’s to another 10 years!

  • Judy Hickey

    The tea table was my first stop when in Ft. Collins. I love your teas. They just taste better than what I buy on the home front. Happy 10th and many more

  • Odette Hampson

    “Happy Anniversary” It must have been around the same time you started I won a contest for free tea from your site. I’m from Massachusetts and have enjoyed doing business with you.
    Your teas and your tea accessories are great. The interaction with your customers have been great. Here’s hoping to many, many more years of the same.

  • I love your tea. It is always my first stop on the web. I live in rural area where getting good teas is often hard. I tell my friends to check you out. I pray you have many more happy years. Happy anniversary!

  • Suzy Cramer

    I remember meeting Lori when she came in to order the Tea Table stamp for her shopping bags. I was so excited that Ft. Collins was getting a store just for tea lovers! I have been a loyal customer ever since!

  • I’m having such fun reading these wonderful comments from long-time loyal customers! Thank you all for your kind wishes, compliments, and of course, your business over the last ten years. We’d be sunk without you!

  • Christine

    Hi Lori- Congrats on your 10th anniversary….I moved from Calfornia to Colorado the month you were going out of business and though I got some “deals” I really was bummed with the store closing…so glad you decided to continue to sell via this website…I love your teas especially the Jasmine Pearls and Raspberry. I have bought presents which were loved and also shared your site with friends who now purchase tea from you as well…..PLEASE CONTINUE TO STAY IN BUSINESS & HERE’S TO CONTINUED PROSPERITY TO YOU ALL!
    P.S. Is it tea time yet??? ;)

  • Connie

    Congratulations Lori … I too find it hard to believe it’s been 10 years and your blog brought back many memories of my own visits to the store, my disappointment when you needed to close it and my happiness with your web storefront, being able to pick up at the local coffee shop. I shared several teas with my mother in California and she is a huge fan as well.

    As Christine wrote, here’s to many more years of prosperity to you all and to tea time for the rest of us.

  • Happy Anniversary!

    I remember taking my young son (now 11 1/2) into your store way back when you were newly opened, and have been a devoted customer since then! I was so sad when I thought you were closing up shop for good, but glad to see you had created a website, to which I could send all my friends around the world to get some wonderful tea. The Tea Table is my go-to shop for my Jasmine tea of any sort. :D

    Thank you for offering wonderful teas, information, customer service and more!

  • Happy Anniversary and good luck!

  • Happy anniversary Lori. Been using your tea since you opened your store 10 years ago in Mountain ave.
    We been consumers of coffee and tea, but now we only drink tea.
    Your teas are the best.

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