By Jeanny Rhee — UW News Lab/Special for CHS
With thousands of coffee pros arriving in Seattle this week for the Specialty Coffee Association of America 2015 expo, leave it to CHS to tell you about Capitol Hill tea.
Remedy Teas is now under the ownership of Christopher Glenn and Rich Irish, who have grand plans for continuing and expanding the tea house with health and sustainability in mind.
And, by “now,” we mean “as of last August.” Glenn and Irish said they weren’t in a hurry to make a big deal about the change.
“Some people will blast big signs of new ownership because they’re trying to change the business’ perception to customers,” Irish said. “Remedy Teas is a very solid brand in the community and we didn’t want to broadcast it.”
Right-brained Glenn manages the shop, works with their suppliers, plans the shop’s menus and promotions, and wears multiple hats as the employer, the cashier and as the warm and inviting local business owner. Left-brained Irish punches numbers for inventory control, payroll and accounting. It also doesn’t hurt that Irish’s primary job is as a financial analyst.
Their different backgrounds may be why the partnership works — Glenn has a bachelor of arts in pipe organ performance and a master’s in education policy and management from the University of Oregon; Irish has a degree in business accounting from Western Oregon University — with a common interest in entrepreneurialism. They’ve been business partners — and in love — since 2001.
For those 14 years, Glenn and Irish said they have been honing the idea of an “art bar,” a concept that takes the visual aesthetic of an art gallery and marries it with the relaxed atmosphere of a bar. Remedy Teas is exactly that, except the choice of beverage is tea instead of alcohol, with a heavy emphasis on healthy living.
“If you think about the common type of tea houses, it’s going to be ceremonial… but you’re not going to look around here and see tiny, dainty, tea cups,” Glenn said. “We’re urban, hip, younger, and an energized kind of tea house.”
The 8-year-old establishment was founded by Anthony and Andrea Arnold who moved to Hawaii and listed Remedy for sale with broker Gregory Kovsky.
While there were several other contenders, Kovsky and the Arnolds were impressed with how detailed and goal-oriented Glenn and Irish’s proposal was. They emphasized the importance of sustainability, reducing carbon footprint when dealing with shipping, as well as a plan to keep the brand well and alive in the community.
“Our intention of keeping it mellow and quiet was to come in and get a really good grasp to see what our fingerprint was going to look like,” Glenn said. “The changes we’ve made to the store have been incremental and very intentional changes.”
During the coming months, Glenn and Irish hope to increase their web sales, and expand to a second location in West Seattle, hopefully with a bigger office and a place for bulk blending of their teas. However, both business owners want to focus on establishing themselves on Capitol Hill before moving forward.
“We want to expand those aspects of the business once we have the space and resources so that we’re able to give our customers 100% of our attention,” Glenn said.
For now, Glenn and Irish are enjoying getting to know and build relationships with customers, surrounding business owners, the staff and the community.
“We’ve got a lot of regulars that are here every single day, and just learning what’s going on in their lives to me is a quintessential part of owning a small business,” he said.
Remedy Teas is located at 345 15th Ave E. You can learn more at remedyteas.com.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes by jseattle
- More tea? Tea Republik has opened on Broadway. But no sign of Oasis and its bubble teas yet on E Pine.
- Ms. Helen’s Soul Food Bistro has a lease and is planning to open in October at 23rd and Union.
- So, coffee? It’s not about high craft but community at 23rd and Cherry with 701 Coffee.
- So, more coffee? Here’s where Sprudge says to drink coffee in Seattle these days.
- We asked Andrew Friedman what’s up with the Good Citizen still not quite open:
— Liberty (@LibertyLovesYou) April 8, 2015
- We talked to Tom Douglas about his decision to drop the “Wage Equity Surcharge” after only one day. “What I should have done, obviously, is poll the customers,” Douglas told CHS.
- “With the opening of his new Chinese restaurant, Lionhead, still months away, Jerry Traunfeld has much to worry about and many decisions to make. But this may be his thorniest quandary: to MSG or not to MSG.”
- You can now enjoy chef Aleks Dimitrijevic’s work via Lish.
- Oola distillery got a new toy:
- You’ll need to be impulsive. Wednesday brings chef Zephyr Paquette’s Basque night to Coastal Kitchen: Chef Zephyr has her own TXOKO Social Club happening at Coastal Kitchen. It’s where fun people who love great food gather to cook, converse and dine together.
- How about Greek Easter at Vios? Sunday, April 12 from 2:30 to 5. Whole rotisserie Anderson Ranch spring lamb, chicken souvlaki, and much more ($65)
- ICYMI: The Comet/Lost Lake/Big Mario’s/Grim’s guys are opening an Italian joint and bar in the former home of the Kingfish Cafe.
- The Lusty Vegan pops up at Plum Bistro next week.
- Friday, Mezcaleria Oaxaca marks its first anniversary *and* the start of its rooftop season.
- “Cafe Barjot is a neighborhood-sized treat“
- Lunch? Gnocchi Bar is already set to serve you starting next week. Meanwhile, Lark has added lunch for Seattle Restaurant Week.
- Where on Capitol Hill did Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, in town to witness the implementation of Seattle’s new minimum wage, dine with Mayor Ed Murray?
— jseattle (@jseattle) April 2, 2015
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