Marketplace: Townshend’s Park City Teahouse is steeped in tasty tradition
New watering hole aims to quench Parkites’ thirst for tea
June 23, 2017
Polly Rihm has brought a taste of home to Park City.
The Oregon native recently opened Townshend's Park City Teahouse, the first Utah location of the Portland, Oregon-based Townshend's Tea Company. Rihm said she was first exposed to the brand during trips home, and as a tea lover, she thirsted to bring the company's beverages to Park City.
After more than a year of preparations — which included months of training and an extensive renovation of the teahouse's location at 1241 Center Drive in Kimball Junction — Rihm opened for business earlier this month. She's eager for Parkites to get a sip of the tea that inspired her to become an entrepreneur. With dozens of teas available, Rihm said the establishment is a dream for tea aficionados. But even people who don't know green tea from chai will discover that there's a taste for everybody.
"Someone can come in as a novice tea person, or maybe they know they like green tea or black tea, and we can build on that," she said. "We want to show people what we have and give them new things to try. We have that knowledge to share with people who don't necessarily know that much about tea."
Rihm is hoping the teahouse becomes a popular destination for residents. She chose the location because Kimball Junction is increasingly becoming the place people do most of their shopping. The teahouse, she said, is a perfect addition because patrons can order to go if they're in a rush or stop in and stay a while if they have time to lounge. So far, many customers are doing the latter, and Rihm has already had to restock some products.
"We can do drinks to go, but we also have free Wi-Fi and encourage people to get tea and stay," she said. "If you get a size that's 20 ounces or bigger that's hot, it comes in a teapot with cups. We've definitely found that people are coming and setting up shop and hanging out, which is great. I wanted it to be a community hub where people don't have to feel pressured to get out."
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The teahouse has a long list of offerings, the same as Townshend's eight other locations. Among them are various flavors of bottled kombucha, more than 20 black teas, more than a dozen green teas and 11 made-from-scratch chai teas that Rihm said will titillate the taste buds of anyone accustomed to drinking chais made from liquid mix.
Additionally, the teahouse stocks an apothecary series of teas that purport to provide health benefits such as easing upset stomachs and clearing the skin. Rihm said the variety of offerings — which are all available to smell on a wall display featuring small jars of tea — will be a welcome sight to people who have previously had to travel to buy their teas.
"A lot of people we've found have to drive to Salt Lake to go somewhere like Teavana, which is a huge, commercial company, and it's more of a get-your-tea-and-go kind of a place," she said. "Here, you can come in, talk to us, and we'll help you find what you want to try. … Knowing Park City and being here for 11 years, and me personally loving tea and loving Townshend's, I knew it would be a great fit."
Rihm describes getting the teahouse opened as a labor of love. She spent months preparing for the opening and even commissioned her family to help build the tables and chairs lining the establishment. To finish it, she drew on her business background, which includes time as the creative director of the now-closed RAMP Sports, where she also learned that she has a passion for the day-to-day work of running a company.
After scouring garage sales and auctions to create a vintage, industrial vibe in the teahouse — complementary to but completely different than Townshend's other locations — Rihm discovered that her new venture perfectly blends her creativity and her entrepreneurial spirit.
"I really enjoy the business aspect of it," she said. "I think my art side came out in putting the place together. That was kind of cool to take my experiences from another Park City company and bring it into something new and different."
Townshend's Park City Teahouse
Townshendstea.com; 1241 Center Drive; 435-604-0636
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