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Start Up Spot Light: Fava Tea Company

by Cynthia Fazekas

Fava Tea Exterior

Fava Tea Interior

Start Up Spotlight - Fava Tea Company

Fava Tea Company opened its doors December 15th, 2007 to a warm reception from the local community and a successful first month.

Bryan Stafford and his wife Mellisa had an inspiring trip to Europe that exposed them to 'real tea' - high quality loose leaf that fueled an existing tea passion. Once back in the states they had trouble finding high quality tea locally in Neenah, Wisconsin, and had to go online as well as to shops such as Argo Tea and Teavana. Seeing the obvious need for quality tea in their area they decided to pursue their passion and open their own tea shop.

Planning Stages

Bryan and Mellisa started planning a solid year in advance, keeping on top of all details and holding contractors to their promised completion dates. (Their contractors were able to complete an incredible 35 day build out!) Their vigilance paid off as their first month has been exactly what they expected and they are quite pleased with the results. The only thing Bryan says they would have changed is adding more space for seating. Currently the shop only seats about eight and it seems people really want to come, sit and enjoy the tea environment.

Location

Bryan and Mellisa chose their Grand Chute, Wisconsin location carefully. The 1,400 square foot space is located in a high-end strip mall style shopping center that is the second busiest in the state, near major roads and with plenty of foot traffic. Nearby by are several coffee vendors including a smattering of Starbucks.

Name Story

The Staffords' two-year- old son had some difficulty pronouncing the names names of their two family dogs, Moxie and Tigger. Somehow, as little ones will do, he translated Moxie into "Fava" and Tigger into "Tea.' The constant chatter around the house was 'Fava Tea' - and so the name of their future enterprise was created. As was their motto, 'Tea with moxie!'

Words from the Wise

Bryan shares two pieces of advice:

  • 1. Proper planning - give it at least a year and solid research.
  • 2. The importance of good people for your staff.
  • He strongly emphasizes the second point and includes that first you have to find them and then ensure their proper training.

    Your staff needs to understand that the complexity of tea is comparable to fine wine - the everyday varieties versus the ones that are truly special occasion brews. A properly trained, enthusiastic staff will educate your client base and help them understand the product. Seminars, tea tastings and use of www.teaclass.com help increase knowledge and awareness.

    Fava Tea Company currently carries over 170 teas and many tea wares. They hope to expand their seating area in the summer months and to continue their early success.