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Siptea to Close on Sunday

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, May 14, 2009, at 04:18PM
sip tea Ed Fuentes

On Sunday, Laura Stewart will close the doors at siptea's Broadway location for the last time. By next month, the space is set to be home to a cafe serving lunches.

The tea house opened in October with dreams of becoming a neighborhood gathering place, but the economic downturn led to a severe drop in revenue. Despite a recent uptick, Stewart could no longer wait for business to pick up.

"Seven months is a long time to lose money everyday," said Stewart sadly. Earlier, the shop had seen good days bring in $450. At the beginning of the year, that dropped to $250.

The low revenue wasn't for lack of a solid product. Stewart's line of organic teas are served with a disciplined style, and the tea house garnered some national attention.

That prompted westsiders to trek Downtown and try siptea, but it remained inconvenient to patronize. "Parking is a problem," says Stewart thinking about the increase in parking meter fares. "While loose leaf tea people will travel, parking is too expensive just to have tea."

Stewart also feels that with no other real options in this part of Broadway, return visits became infrequent.

Once the doors close, Stewart will continue to sell her teas online. She also plans to look at locations in other areas of the city with active walkability more favorable to her brand of tea house.

That doesn't mean Downtown's out of the question. "We came Downtown because it was an under-served community" she said. "If someone has a great [downtown] location, I would listen."

Those looking to get in a last purchase can do so at 852 S. Broadway. Doors close at 6pm on Sunday.

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