The business of small tea shops

This month's issue of Specialty Coffee Retailer carried several articles on tea including one about tea retailers.  It noted that in the past decade, the number of tearooms and specialty stores in the U.S. grew from 240 to about 3,000.  Bill Waddington, founder of TeaSource in St. Paul, Minnesota (and our friend), was cited in the article and describes several factors driving the growth - among them the well-documented health benefits of tea and the fact that tea is about slowing down a bit and enjoying your life a little more.  He summed up his philosophy and that of many of us independents as follows:
We didn't jump into tea to make a quick buck or because we saw it as the next thing.  That doesn't describe us.  We pride ourselves, and have built our growth on the quality of our teas and the quality of the experience.  And if that means we have slower growth, I'm Ok with that.  We try to view every single customer interaction (dealing with retail or wholesale customers) as an opportunity to turn that person into a lifelong customer. 
Hear, Hear.  Couldn't have said it better myself, Bill.
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