The Spice & Tea Exchange® intends to expand to 100 franchise stores in 2020. The St. Augustine, Florida-based company currently has 68 outlets.
Nicole Gagliardi and her husband George Yovetich decided The Spice & Tea Exchange was the best match for franchising their location in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
“We decided to open a tea retail shop because both the market for speciality shops and quality tea in the United States are growing,” said Gagliardi, adding that their decision “provides us with the opportunity to richly interact with our Portsmouth community and visitors in way our office jobs did not.”
The Spice & Tea Exchange executives say they spent 2018 perfecting customer offerings through the addition of a tea bar, expanding its footprint across the country and fulfilling customer needs where other tea shops had failed. Each decision proved to add value, as The Spice & Tea Exchange reported $19 million in system-wide sales in 2018 – a 15% increase year-over-year – and sales growth continues as they head into the third quarter 22% ahead of 2018.
The company, founded in 2008, is intent on opening stores in communities where former competitors had shuttered. The franchise provides customers what other tea shops could not – it pulls guests into a captivating shopping experience that is locally owned and operated, according to CEO Amy Freeman. Stores are stocked with 140 spices, 85 exclusive hand-mixed blends, more than 40 exotic teas, naturally-flavored sugars, salts from around the world, gourmet gifts and accessories. Typical is Mystic Dragon, a blend of Japanese sencha and Chinese Dragonwell with mallow and cornflowers and strawberry and rhubarb flavorings. The tea is served hot or iced.
“Downtown Portsmouth was missing a loose-leaf tea shop,” observes Yovetich. “Our store has become a destination for customers looking for higher quality and exotic teas, as well as the growing number of people switching from coffee to tea. Our tea bar also provides residents and shoppers a place to purchase a cup of tea to enjoy. And with more than 50 teas served hot or iced, it’s allowing our guests to try new flavors and develop their taste for a variety of teas,” he says.
The decision to move into shopping malls was justified during the holiday season when the brand saw record sales numbers, writes Freeman.
She says the gourmet retailer has every reason to believe 2019 will be equally momentous. Following its recognition in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 (No. 392) and Top 200 Food & Restaurant Franchises (No. 8 in Retail Foods), The Spice & Tea Exchange has already opened new locations from Sioux Falls, SD to Mashpee, Mass., with several stores in between.
This fall will see even more communities welcome new The Spice & Tea Exchange locations; entrepreneurs will open stores in South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama and more.
said, “Partnering with The Spice & Tea Exchange was the right decision for
us. Above all else, they committed to the quality of our products and
provide us with an excellent service, sourcing and blending traditional and
“Nationwide, consumer demand for wellness offerings, caffeinated alternatives to coffee and a memorable, experiential shopping experience are on the rise,” said Freeman. “We continue to meet that demand by opening new stores with enthusiastic and passionate entrepreneurs across the country. Our franchise owners truly make the difference,” she said.
Martin Amschler, executive vice president of franchise development & operations anticipates, “By year’s end, we’ll have a total of 75 locations, and be well on our way to our goal of 100 open stores in 2020.”
He notes the brand is specifically looking to grow in California, Arizona and Georgia with franchisees who have a passion for crafting a one-of-a-kind customer experience.
The Spice & Tea Exchange is looking ahead to 2020 with excited anticipation.
“We provide an attractive experience for every customer, resulting in happy franchise owners,” said Amschler. “Whether it’s teenagers falling in love with tea for the first time coming in to visit the tea bar, or seasoned chefs looking for a new spice blend to experiment with, our franchisees love connecting with The Spice & Tea Exchange’s diverse customers on a daily basis,” he said.
Source: The Spice & Tea Exchange