Wednesday, October 5, 2022

New shop, same tea: This shop relocated to Merchants Square

The Spice & Tea Exchange of Williamsburg has moved to Merchants Square. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Williamsburg's Facebook page)
The Spice & Tea Exchange of Williamsburg has moved to Merchants Square. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Williamsburg’s Facebook page)

No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.

The Spice & Tea Exchange in Williamsburg has moved.

The owner, Heather Hulbert reopened the tea shop a few blocks away to Merchants Square at its new location, 403W Duke of Gloucester St. on Black Friday during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Oh yeah, it was crazy,” Hulbert said, referring to the first day they opened at their new location. “Honestly it’s been crazy ever since but in a great way.”

The Spice & Tea Exchange of Williamsburg on Prince George Street in 2012 under original owners, Laura and Alan Sullivan. A few years later, they retired and sold the business to shop’s current owner, Hulbert, who took it over in Oct. 2015. 

Typically the shop’s busiest season is the “last quarter of the year” or October through December, with the last month before the new year being the most busy.

In fact, they start prep work at the end of the summer around August to September such as making labels for bags.

“December is our heaviest hitter,” she added.

The most popular items people are buying during this holiday season is “A Little Something from Williamsburg,” a gift sampler and a herbal Chai tea sampler, which features four chai teas tied together in small bags.

So if someone is confused about gifts, the shop’s samplers act as a guide.

“Oh I know my girlfriend likes green tea,” Hulbert said, as an example of a potential buyer. “Well, we have a green tea sampler.”

There’s also peach, ginger tea and other flavor varieties too. Not to mention other products like specialty sugars, salts and peppers.

“So we got quite a bit to choose from,” she said, adding the teas are the shop’s best seller. “Again, we got 50 teas that adorn our wall…that’s a lot.”

Customers can also make custom gift boxes, having the specific items priced separately.

After the coronavirus hit the Historic Triangle, the tea exchange switched gears offering hand sanitizer and face masks to customers and curbside pickup behind the Blue Talon parking lot. They started checking their employees temperatures too.

Moving proved to be another challenge.

“We relied really heavily on social media to just kind of get the word out there,” Hulbert said. “We barely were able to make ends meet.”

At home, the single mom of three girls, had to juggle the virtual learning too and started taking her kids to work with her a few days a week. She even included them on her videos which she posted on Instagram and the business’ social media pages.

“It’s been fun,” she said, adding by bringing them to shop she can get her work done and help them too. “I can show them, you can work, you can be a business owner and you can be a momma too.”

So why did the tea exchange move in the first place?

“We were just really outgrowing over there,” Hulbert said. “We were not able to carry all of the teas that we wanted to carry because we didn’t have the shelving for it.”

While the square foot is the same compared to their previous location, the size of the actual “showroom”––where customers can browse the teas is much larger––and she is thankful for the change.

“It’s just been a blessing…and I have a lot of gratitude for this big change right now,” Hulbert added. “So again, my heart is just really full.”

The Spice & Tea Exchange of Williamsburg is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The business is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and is closed on Christmas Day. The shipping cut off date for custom gift box deliveries is Friday.

To place an order, call the shop at 757-229-8327 or email them at williamsburg@spiceandtea.com.

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Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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