Wishes Brew Entices with Events

ORLANDO, Fla.

For Fanny Perez, Owner/Founder Wishes Brew Tea Company, her Orlando, Florida tea shop offers a respite where customers can slow down from fast-paced lives and enjoy face-to-face conversation. To make that happen, she provides top-notch customer service, an inviting atmosphere, and a great selection of products. “Everything in the store is handpicked,” she said.

She’s especially proud of helping people better understand differences between the 110 teas she offers — she keeps a book profiling the tea varieties and introducing the different tea production methods. “Our mission is to create a ‘Tea Culture in our Community’,” she said. “No fancy hats or gloves required.”

ThronesHer team of seven makes it easy for customers to relax with table service and a fun, un-fussy and comfortable atmosphere featuring cozy leather club chairs, velvet-covered thrones, quirky decorations, and a movie screen. Reservations are not required unless there are groups of 5 or more, and ‘afternoon’ tea is available any time. Free WiFi is available for customers, and seating in the shop caters to single diners as well as small groups.

Although the 46-seat, 950 square foot store has been open only since 2009, Fanny has been in the tea business since 2006, when she started selling specialty teas to area resorts and hotels.

SeatingPromoting her shop in a mixed-use development can be a challenge, since off-site signage is restricted in the area. The shop participates in nearby events such as “Bunny in the Park” and holiday concerts. In addition, the weekly farmers market also boosts in traffic on Fridays and Saturdays. Perez, who also runs a commercial cleaning service for area condominiums and time-share resorts, leverages those contacts to promote her tea shop. Running ads in the local coupon clipper weekly paper has also worked well for her in marketing her tea business. The Wishes Brew customer base is primarily local men and women, with some students, teachers, and families with young children.

About 15 percent of her business comes from private events on Sundays, including bridal parties, anniversaries, birthdays and other get-togethers for up to 45 people. She typically books private events two Sundays per month. Guests enjoy using her large movie screen to show photos or family movies, she said. She also uses the screen to offer cinema socials during the week. Other special activities that draw customers include game nights for teens, and live music on Friday nights.

Business has been down a bit, but Perez remains optimistic and continues to listen to her customers and adjust her offerings. She’s planning to add wine and beer sales, and is planning an on-line store to boost revenues.

Retail area

Retail sales of custom tea blends, books, and tea accessories comprise about 10 percent of her business, and the rest comes from tea room sales. Per person ticket is approximately $15 with about $5 for tea, and $6 to $7 for food.

Traditional afternoon tea for one is $18.95, or $27.95 for two. A Cup of tea to go is $2.99. Depending on the tea, a small pot (2 cups of tea) is $4.95 and a large pot is $7.95. Scones are two for $4.95 with house cream; hummus and pita bread sells for $6.95, ‘CroissandWish’ $7.95. Special tea and food combinations, such as tea with scones, cinnamon roll, cupcakes, or molten chocolate cakes, are $7.95, and are named after Fanny’s children.

She does all the baking and food preparation in a 400 sq. ft. kitchen equipped with a True refrigerator and freezer, Cadco Unox convection oven, Sharp Carousel microwave, Bunn hot water dispenser, and Nespresso Gemini coffee machine. Her water filter, she said, is key to making good beverages in Florida.