Merchant of the Month – Tea Trader

September 9th, 2020 by rca_admin Leave a reply »

Merchant of the Month: Tea Trader

by Teresa Smith, RCA Memberships

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Tea Trader has been open in Inglewood for almost 30 years! They are currently offering pick-up at the door (1228A 9 Ave SE). Orders can be placed over the phone (403.264.0728) or online (www.teatrader.com). Tea Trader is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm and on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm.  They offer Ramsay and Inglewood Community Association Members 10% off all purchases.

How long have you been in the neighbourhood?

Ted and Colleen scouted out Calgary in early 1992 from Toronto, picking Inglewood right away during short visits. We moved to Calgary just before Stampede Week. We rented a house in Inglewood within a day and bought one six months later. Ramsay was the other neighbourhood we considered!

 What do you like about being a merchant here?

When we arrived, rents were low and a lot of shops shared space. We had antique shops, book shops, auctions and the National Hotel. Just like now, most businesses are independent and family owned and that gives us all a common interest to make the business district work. In the early years, Tea Trader received a lot of encouragement from more established businesses, notably Robinson’s Camera and Nostalgic Expressions, who we rented space from.

 What makes your business unique?

We were the first tea shop in Calgary. We were also one of the first online companies having a web page up in 1995. We still have quite a lot of those original customers in Canada and the US. The process of buying tea is just as important to us as the customer contact. Over the years, we have established relationships with suppliers who continue to find the tea we want. We spend the Spring and Summer tasting samples while learning about the growing conditions, availability and pricing of teas. Some teas come from large established gardens while others are from small farms with very limited production – all have their place. Later in the year, it gets cold in Calgary and that is when we sell it!

 What do you want customers to know about you and your business?

Tea is very important to all of us in the shop, we drink it every day. Every time we sell tea to a customer we know that the tea is as important to them as it is to us. There is no right way of preparing tea and we enjoy talking, and disagreeing, on the subject. We love our present location but at some point we will have to find somewhere with more space. Being located upstairs is also challenging for some of our customers and we will be looking for space that is accessible to all.

 Tea Trader stays in business because of its loyal staff, Kate, Joan and Julia – not forgetting the many early years of service given by Paulie, a resident of Ramsay.

 Tea Trader Shop.190412.Cropped

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