By Seth Daniel
The new Tea Bar by Evy location held a soft opening on Thursday at the Monument Avenue location off of Main Street, with its signature cold-brewed tea products and loose teas becoming a quick hit in the Town during several, hot summer days.
“We’re really excited to be open and really excited to meet everyone in Charlestown,” said owner Evy Chen on Thursday afternoon.
Walking into the remodeled shop reveals a spacious area to unwind, an outdoor patio and a library card catalog featuring loose teas from around the world.
Once through the door, expect a hug from Chen, or at least a high five, as she is an owner who believes in getting to know her customers and being a real part of the community, she said.
The opening comes on the heels of a major fund-raising venture for the company, where they reported garnering $1 million in capital from private investors and foundations that believe in their product. The company has been active since 2012 and has one other tea bar in Jamaica Plain. In addition, they have wholesale bottle sales at local supermarkets (Evy Tea) and institutional sales as well to colleges and corporate accounts.
The money, she said, will help her expand her wholesale production, help her open more tea bars like in Charlestown and hire the right people from the community.
One of the investors was the City of Boston, which gave them a loan of $50,000 earlier this year for the Charlestown renovations under the Boston Local Development Corporation.
The rest were private individuals and foundations who believe in Chen’s insistence on community-first growth, she said.
“The $1 million is clearly a big thing for this company and the money really allows us to get our product in front of more people,” she said. “We’ve always been very conscientious about who we take money from. We have conscientiously grown that way and really always with investors that understand and share our vision and see how important it is. Part of that is the priority of putting down roots and growing here and growing a staff here. That was an important criteria for investors.”
So it is Chen said the news of raising money came with a caveat, one that made it clear she plans to grow by being part of Charlestown and any future locations, as opposed to just being there.
“My company is built from the get-go as establishing ties in the community,” she said. “Having real interactions with the community is super important for a company like mine. Boston is my home and I’m not leaving. I’m not going to make it big tomorrow. That isn’t going to happen. We want to prove ourselves in Charlestown first…Our baristas, it’s not how they make coffee or tea, it’s how they connect with people. We want to make a place with an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and comfortable…That’s a big part of the story in us raising the $1 million in funding.”