Along a quiet street in a quaint Kelowna neighbourhood sits Teaberry’s Fine Teas, which has been supplying the city’s tea lovers for two decades now.
And even though Teaberry’s will be celebrating 20 years this week, owner and operator Julie Johnson is still surprised by how many people come into the store and say they didn’t even know it was there.
“But once people find us, they usually keep coming back,” Johnson says with a smile. “And we have our own parking lot, which is pretty exciting these days. They run in, they grab their Earl Grey, they run out, and they’re on their way.”
Teaberry’s is in Pandosy Village’s Tutt Street Square, which is located at 1-3045 Tutt St. behind Mission View Medical Building.
Teaberry’s is going to celebrate its 20th birthday with a week full of discounts, offers and surprises. Starting today, anyone who comes into the store will get 20% off all loose teas. There will also be two-for-one offers, and the tea shop’s Instagram and Facebook pages will be revealing surprise offers for their followers. The celebratory savings will end on July 2.
Johnson has always been a big fan of tea. She studied at the University of Victoria but spent plenty of her spare time at Murchie’s Tea & Coffee in the provincial capital. Her sister started Teaberry’s, which was Kelowna’s first loose tea store, 20 years ago but moved to the U.S. four years later.
So Johnson took over the controls 16 years ago and now serves more than 200 varieties of tea to her loyal customers, first-time patrons and everyone in between. In addition to that massive selection, Johnson says customer service is what separates Teaberry’s from the rest.
“I treat all my customers like they’re my friends,” Johnson says. “If somebody asks, for example, ‘Do you have vanilla lavender herbal tea?’ Well, no, we have a vanilla, but we have lavender under the counter for blending, so let’s put some lavender in for you. We’ll customize on the spot and just go the extra mile.”
Teaberry’s is also big on sustainability and natural products. Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, customers can bring in their reusable containers or bags, get them filled up and receive a packaging discount. In addition, Teaberry’s customers will not find many artificial flavours in their cups.
“We’re pretty fussy about our quality,” Johnson says. “Out of 200, there’s only three that have an artificial ingredient. For example, our vanilla tea is real pieces of vanilla bean. It’s not flavour crystals. It’s not any kind of junk. And all the companies that we deal with are either Canadian or European, and they have to meet those standards.”
Johnson is inviting everyone and anyone to stop in during their anniversary celebration, say hello and try out their favourite kind of tea.
And if Johnson could drink only one tea for the rest of her life?
“I have so many people ask me that all the time,” she says. “If had to pick one for the rest of my life, I would pick chai.”
You can find out more about Teaberry’s on its website here.
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