Selling (out) tea

25 Apr

Red Velvet Latte

I found some of the comments on a recent Teaopia thread on Facebook kind of amusing.  In case you aren’t already in-the-know, Teaopia announced that:

Teaopia has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Teavana. The deal is scheduled to close this summer, until then we will continue to operate as Teaopia, an independent retailer.

Of course, there were many people who were upset, suggesting that the only place they would ever shop would be Teaopia, and that they would never ‘cross the floor’ and support the US company.  Others complained about the other major tea retailer (David’s Teas) but almost none mentioned the small independent (non-chain) stores.

I’ve shopped at the big chains (like Teaopia and David’s Teas) and found blends I liked, and ones that I’d never get again… I’ve done the same with the small one-of places.  I’ve had wonderful, helpful service at the big chains, and I’ve had terrible, ignorant staff ‘serve’ me as well.  The same can be said for the small places. I’ve found some large places overpriced, and have had the same complaint at some of the small places too.  I just hope that eager tea drinkers will consider checking out the smaller places in their cities and towns (or nearby cities and towns as the case may be depending on where they live….) instead of just bemoaning the loss of one place.

Wondering about those small places? Off the top of my head: Silk Road in Victoria, Banff Tea Co. in Banff, and Tea Trader, Steeps, Naked Leaf, Oolong Tea House, and a few more in Calgary…

Change is frustrating – and it wouldn’t be the first time that a beloved Canadian store was bought out by a retailer from the USA.  But, the other thing… why not give Teavana a chance?  They’re currently offering free shipping to Canada, and their website has a pretty decent selection… (Though I did notice a disturbing lack of Milk Oolongs…) and their prices seem pretty comparable (they sell in 2 oz, which is about equivalent to 56 grams.)

One legitimate concern – it sounds like the acquisition deal didn’t necessarily include the teas as well – so there’s a good chance that the new Teavana (assuming they take over all the stores and not just the most profitable ones) might not carry all of the same teas that Teaopia carried (or carries.. before I jump ahead of myself!). So, perhaps it’s time to stock up on some favorites… (and avoid trying new things, just in case you fall in love with something doomed!)

So… my only remaining thought – better use up those Teaopia gift cards in case Teavana doesn’t honour them!

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Tea & Beverages


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