Thursday, June 4, 2009

A farewell.. of sorts

There are a lot of reasons why a store closes it's doors for good. Ours was one of the most straightforward: our lease was up and the landlord wanted to double our rent. We did the math, factored in a lousy economy, the large number of available storefronts that weren't charging exorbitant rents and knew it was time for a change. What that change meant was a little harder to grasp and the questions about the Gallery's future didn't come with immediate answers. A move was imminent but finding and preparing a new space would take time.
Fortunately, the teas and accessories are available through the website and Michael and Winnie set up a temporary space to host tea-tastings for the summer
. Work continues for us and we're excited about upcoming plans. Not having a retail space to anchor them to the city, talk of travel is in the air. I'm giddy about the future but my mood is bittersweet. It feels like leaving a home I grew up in and I wanted to share one last look...

Michael's still packing up the antiques and furniture. Some of it's being used at the temporary space we're working out of. But a number of pieces are destined for storage.
I did offer to help with the packing but I could see the movie reel in Michael's head playing back my clumsier moments from the past. And there have been a lot. If I wasn't dropping gaiwans and knocking over his camera equipment, I was doing a good job of smashing my own body parts against table corners and tripping over chair legs. So it didn't come as a surprise when Michael suggested I take that time to do anything else but help him. He would call me if they needed someone to prop open doors while they moved the heavy furniture. I couldn't argue, I was too busy doubled over from the pain of slamming my knee into a chair corner.

I will miss walking through the moon gate. I'm sad we couldn't take that with us. It helped separate the world of loud, ugly street traffic from the peaceful devotion to tea. People always lost track off time while having tea with us and I credit Michael and Winnie's interior design.

While Michael preferred to make tea in the back of the store, so many Saturdays found me at the original tea table waiting for the day's appointments. I loved the quiet moments while I heated up the kettle and rinsed out teacups before our clients arrived. The table is with us in the new space and it's a comfort to take a break from work and ask Winnie to brew a cup of tea. We still sit together and sample the new harvests coming in. It's been a relief to know somethings do not change.

One thing I'm sure about, there is still a Tea Gallery. We're enjoying our tea and you're welcome to join us.


LaoChaGui said...

I am glad to hear the Tea Gallery is not really closing. I almost went into paryoxisms of rage when I saw the title of this post, assuming the Tea Gallery brick and mortar storefront was no more. I will be coming home from China this summer, and Tea Gallery is perhaps the one North American tea house I most want to visit. Please keep up with the blog and let us all know when you are settled in to the new real estate... I can't wait to visit.

yumcha said...

Thanks LaoChaGui,
Although the store front is no more, we're still having tea together at our interim space. You're welcome to visit us in New York and have tea with us.
You can email me at:

Unknown said...

So sad. Thanks for posting the pictures.