Hanna’s Tea Times
Business Feature of the Month
When you hear the phrase “tea time”, you might picture English socialites sipping from fine china cups while munching on crumpets – but you would think of Negaunee, Michigan?
Recently celebrating its first year of business on Iron Street in downtown Negaunee, Hanna’s Tea Times serves to bring tea time to the Upper Peninsula.
For owner Maryhanna Ockerman, tea has always been a staple in her life, so much that she even drank tea as a baby. The tradition of tea time began for her when Ockerman’s grandfather was alive, and her family gathered every evening to have tea together.
Ockerman ran a tea room in her native state of Florida for eight years before moving to the Upper Peninsula, where she began her tea business out of her home. Then, a year later, she was presented with the opportunity to have a storefront shop.
“It just kind of fell into my lap, really,” Ockerman said, and credits Marybeth Kurtz, the owner of Midtown Bakery and Café, also on Iron Street, as a crucial part of her business startup.
“I was already a faithful customer of Midtown and Marybeth happened to have a storefront building for rent,” Ockerman said.
Since owning her own shop was a lifelong dream, Ockerman seized the chance to make her dreams come true and Hanna’s Tea Times moved to Iron Street.
“To me, it was a risk, but I felt like it was something I needed to do,” Ockerman said. “It was a slow and steady process at first. I partnered with Midtown to do tea parties and other special events to start, which has now accumulated to a huge success.”
Currently, tea parties are booking two months in advance. In addition to special events with Midtown, Hanna’s Tea Times also does catering, in-home tea parties, and hosts afternoon tea right in the store, by reservation.
As a specialty tea shop, Hanna’s Tea Times imports teas from all over the world and brings them straight to local cups. The tea shop, which is quaintly decorated with wall-art, seasonal décor, antique furniture, and of course tea accessories and tea assortments, serves to provide customers with high-quality tea that they would otherwise be unable to find. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, no worries – it can be ordered for you.
“If I don’t have a particular tea, I can order it and that little niche has been great for clients who are looking for things they usually can’t buy in the store,” Ockerman said.
Another niche in the market is the growing quest for a healthier lifestyle. With many people looking to find food and drinks that are nutritious and beneficial for health, Ockerman says tea definitely fulfills that need.
“One great thing about tea is that it’s gluten free, carb free, and pretty much everything good for your body is in tea. Every ingredient has a meaningful purpose.”
And as for Ockerman’s purpose?
“When I have a customer walk in the door, I want them to feel like they’re comfortable shopping and I want them to leave knowing they have a quality product that I can stand behind 100%.”
If you would like to check out more of Hanna’s Tea Times, visit her website at: www.hannatea.com
or check out her Facebook page.
Her tea shop is located at:
327 Iron Street
Negaunee, Michigan 49866
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