15th Ave E is about to lose a longtime part of its cafe scene. Modern Steep, born a decade ago as Remedy Teas, will close its 15th Ave E cafe and tea chop later this month to focus on its online business.
Changing Capitol Hill demographics, expensive equipment upgrades, and a long building construction project that left many customers wondering if the cafe was open all contributed. But the opportunity to grown the company’s online business is at the core of the decision to leave Capitol Hill, owner Christopher Glenn tells CHS.
“With rising labor costs, we’re not growing fast enough,” Glenn said, “All that said, we have been seeing an increase in traffic on our website. We have grown that side of our business. These are changing times, of course.”
The 15th Ave cafe is slated to wrap up business on August 26th, the company announced:
Thanks again for your love and support. We look forward to seeing and hearing from you as we move forward, albeit in a slightly different fashion. From now through August 26th, our physical shop will be open 11am – 6pm, Monday through Saturday. We hope to see you for a cup of tea, a smile and a hug.
Glenn took over the Remedy business in the summer of 2014 — though CHS didn’t get wise to the new ownership until a year later — after founders Anthony and Andrea Arnold put the company up for sale. We talked with Remedy here in 2012 about its business and time on 15th Ave E. “We built Remedy on the idea that the first one on Harrison was a prototype,” Arnold told CHS.
The expansion plans never materialized. Glenn and his business partner took over Remedy and began embarking on a campaign to establish a new brand this year to emphasize “the much broader line of organic pure leaf teas and custom blends that the company represents.”
The cafe business struggled through an overhaul of its 15th and Harrison building through what has typically been its busiest months. The extra costs around expensive equipment upgrades also took their toll, said Glenn.
He said he is thankful for the core of 15th Ave business owners who helped welcome him to the street but also said he has seen signs that the street’s longtime merchant community isn’t keeping up with the changes.
“It feels like the community around 15th has diminished,” Glenn said. “With a lot of business turnover, it’s difficult.”
Now Glenn said the company will continue its operations for online sales out of a Seattle warehouse while beginning a search for a possible new community to call home — likely outside the city.
You can learn more and shop online at ModernSteep.com