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Revered Tea House delivers a premier high tea time experience

BusinessRevered Tea House delivers a premier high tea time experience

Since opening its doors, a little over 11 years ago, Abigail’s Tea House has become one of the most popular destinations for high tea time in the region.  

Ivan and Lorene White, who are the owners, have been successful in creating and refining a tea-time experience that has captivated many guests with its authenticity and aesthetic.

However, Lorene, who was a childcare provider for high-needs and special-needs children for 30 years, was looking for a new career opportunity as she was starting to feel burnt out.

“As a side hustle, I was doing a little bit of event planning for family and friends [and] my husband [encouraged me] to pursue my talents,” Lorene said.

Abigail’s Tea House, which is located at 2 Main St S. in St. George, Ontario, has attracted many customers from across Ontario, Canada, the United States, and Europe. Customers have ranged from novices of high tea time to more seasoned connoisseurs who have noted their authentic and engaging experience at Abigail’s Tea House. Photo courtesy Abigail’s Tea House.

A chance to establish a business came up in the Hamilton area, however, it wasn’t to be.

“Unfortunately, [the city] would not allow us to open a tea room because it was on the Greenbelt; even though there had already been a tea room there [before.] We were pretty discouraged, but continued to look for a new place,” Lorene said.

With Ivan away on business, Lorene ended up going to a garage sale in St. George, Ontario looking for tea cups. The day trip would solidify the next step of their lives.  

“I was telling the lady there why I was looking for tea cups [as] I wanted to open a tea house. And she told me about an old bank that was for sale,” Lorene continued. “I went [to the building and] took a look around…we [then both] went to see it together on Monday and by Wednesday we bought it.”

Abigail’s Tea House keeps strict 11 to four hours and offers options for Birthdays, Girls’ Day out, Hen Party, Children’s parties, and Business Meetings. Photo courtesy Abigail’s Tea House.

Ivan, who holds an MBA and has had success in owning several businesses in the past, explained the positive experience in establishing a business in the area.  

“I think what we found was a lot of cooperation from the county [and] that it was business-friendly. And that’s one of the reasons that we didn’t pursue looking in Hamilton any more. Brant County was very welcoming and encouraged us to open a business in [St. George,]” Ivan explained. “When we took over the [building], there were about four or five stores on the strip that were all vacant. We didn’t realize what a great location it was until we got in there [and] then the other buildings started to fill up [with businesses.] People started to invest in the town.”

At the time of its opening, Abigail’s Tea House started to quickly attract many customers who became loyal, ranging from the curious to the dedicated tea-time connoisseurs; many of whom lauded the tea house with exceptional reviews for its service. 

Abigail’s Tea House offers a rich assortment of teas including 40 loose-leaf teas for purchasing such as classic English Blends, flavoured black and green teas as well as Rooibos Blends. Photo courtesy Abigail’s Tea House.

However, quality has been one of the hallmarks of the Tea House’s success as Lorene explained.

“When we decided to open the tea room we knew the food, the ambiance, and the decor [all had] to be fantastic. We spent a lot of time in the design part of it and making sure that it was very charming; I went with a traditional design but with just a hint of funkiness,” said Lorene.

Along with a rich array of teas, Abigail’s Tea House has a menu of many delectable foods. Photo courtesy Abigail’s Tea House.

Along with investing in high-quality foods and teas as well as creating a pleasing ambiance, Ivan and Lorene have been focused on delivering an inviting and unforgettable experience.

“When people come to the tea room, I treat them like their guests in my home. I try to treat people with a lot of kindness and attention; we have a lot of people that come in that say that we are their happy place,” said Lorene. “For example, I have a lady who’s now become a friend of mine, and she’s a psychologist. And when she’s had a bad day, she’ll call me up and say, ‘Can I come in for a cup of tea?’ When she comes in, I look after her, because like a lot of women, they are the caregiver, and they look after everybody else. When people come to the tea house, I try to pamper [them] as much as I can.”

Ivan, who has consistently utilized his business acumen to grow Abigail’s Tea House, noted the importance of being dedicated to managing a business for the long term.

“We have worked very diligently to pull people in [and] into the [area]. And I think our advertising has helped a lot…We have a lot of people who follow us on social media [and] we also get a lot of traffic going to the website itself as well. So right now, we just seem to be ratcheting the business up over the previous year. And to me, it’s quite astonishing that we’re still able to do that 11 years later,” Ivan continued. “I would say that having a business is just being able to run the race and do the endurance, day after day [and] to persevere.”

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