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Now Hiring: All positions for new store

Charles Cain - Jul 13th 2011

Position: ALL
Locations: ALL
Type: ALL

Adagio Teas is EXPANDING!

We've just signed the lease on our third store and we're looking for passionate team members to join our team. We'll be transferring some employees from existing stores, so we really need a few great people for each of our three stores.

The right candidates will have some previous sales experience and a passion for customer service. Adagio Tea Consultants are front-line tea evangelists on a mission to introduce casual consumers to Adagio's collection of more than 200 premium loose-leaf teas and line of tea brewing equipment and accessories.

Adagio Tea Stores are designed to be a playground for tea. Where else can you smell and touch hundreds of teas and get a guided tour from a trained expert? Customers are encouraged to create custom tea blends, brew samples of any tea in the building, and test tea accessories on our Cupping Table... more >

Investing in an outdoor patio

Charles Cain - Apr 15th 2011

I'm conflicted. Branding is important, but there's obviously a point at which the return on investment just isn't there. Spending too little on a store absolutely hurts your image and your sales. But at some point the value of each dollar decreases. Spending too much is also foolish.

I'm working on the design for our outdoor patio at our Old Orchard Mall location. The same design will be replicated in a smaller format at our Naperville store, and possibly at the downtown location I'm currently negotiating on. I have approval for UP TO 54 seats at Old Orchard, 12 at Naperville and 16 at the downtown space. These patios would be open each year from roughly May 1st through some time in October. For more information on the theory and strategy behind the our decision to open a patio, read more >

Winter in Chicago

Charles Cain - Jan 12th 2011

On days like yesterday, with the wind howling and snow falling, most shoppers hurry past the front door, bundled tightly in winter gear, faces shielded against the snow and wind. It's a bit depressing. I just spent a small fortune completely renovating a corner storefront in a beautiful outdoor shopping mall, and most people arenít even stopping to admire my new 12-foot window displays or rows of under-lit sample jars in the windows, much less take note of the new tea shop inside.

We opened our second Adagio Tea ďExperienceĒ retail store on November 30th. Sales started a bit soft but nearly doubled every week and finished the year with a pretty impressive showing. The store is doing fine, but we still didnít see the overwhelming numbers I had secretly hoped for. It wasnít a failure of store design, staffing or marketing, but a failure of timing (More on timing a store opening more >

FINAL Old Orchard Update - We're Open!

Charles Cain - Nov 30th 2010

Adagio's second "Tea Experience" retail store opened on Tuesday, November 30th at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, IL. The 1,200 square foot store features roughly 150 premium teas available both loose and also in pyramid tea-bags, and a broad collection of more than 100 tea accessories, including a range of tea brewing tools and teapots and tea cups in glass, ceramic, clay and cast iron. Customers are free to try any tea in the regular collection at our cupping tables, or create their own custom blend.

The store is the second Adagio Brick-and-mortar retail location. The stores designed to offer tea lovers a unique opportunity to cup and blend teas, and engage the "tea curious" in an unparalleled sensory experience. For more on our unique tea experience, see the Grand Opening Video of our Naperville store.

The complete renovation of the 1,200 square foot space ended up taking exactly 35 days. To tackle a project like this, including fabrication of the millwork (counters and fixtures), exterior signage and completely replacing the exterior facade, in just under a month was quite an accomplishment... more >

Old Orchard Construction Update #2

Charles Cain - Nov 18th 2010

Tis the season of miracles. Adagio's second Tea Experience retail store will be transformed from a rough construction zone to tea nirvana in less than 48 hours. Do you believe?

The carpenters are running one day behind schedule, and so the time-lines are highly compressed. Still, my contractor assures me that we'll still hit our goal of having the store ready for merchandise by Friday evening, or Saturday late morning at the latest.

To accomplish this, we'll need to complete the framing, drywall and plaster today. Tomorrow we'll be installing the lights and millwork, and sanding and painting the drywall. By Friday evening the store should LOOK 90% complete. I'm a bit skeptical and expect that we may be putting in some overtime on Saturday.

The only large piece remaining will be the center sales and tea cupping/brewing counters which are running a day behind schedule with our new millworkers. That should be delivered at 6AM Monday morning so that it can be installed and wired... more >

Old Orchard Construction Update #1

Charles Cain - Nov 3rd 2010

Construction is in full swing at our second store, currently scheduled to open on November 24th at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, IL (details about this location here). We broke ground on October 25th and expect the build-out to be complete exactly four weeks later.

This second location, while easier in that we do not have to create every design and operational element from scratch, is significantly more complex in that it requires a complete tear down and re-build. We'll be replacing EVERYTHING including the exterior facade, glazing (glass) and all interior walls, ceilings, etc. Under normal circumstances I'd never recommend a small business taking on this type of challenge, but we are paying a lower rent in-part because of the work required to renovate the space and bring it up to the mall's current design standards.

While the final bill for this store will be a little more than 50% more expensive than Naperville, I'm pretty confident that the final result will be well worth it... more >

Now Hiring: Tea Consultants for store 2

Charles Cain - Oct 13th 2010

Position: Tea Consultants
Location: Skokie, IL
Type: Part time

Adagio Teas is seeking passionate team members to join our second Tea Retail Store at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, IL. The right candidates will have some previous retail or food-service experience and a passion for customer service. Adagio Tea Consultants are front-line tea evangelists on a mission to introduce casual consumers to Adagio's collection of more than 200 premium loose-leaf teas and line of tea brewing equipment and accessories.

Adagio Tea Stores are designed to be a playground for tea. Where else can you smell and touch hundreds of teas all on your own, or get a guided tour from a trained expert? Customers are encouraged to create custom tea blends, brew samples of any tea in the building, and test tea accessories on our Cupping Table. Adagio employees are upbeat, relaxed, irreverent, and crazy about the leaf... more >

Designing a Storefront

Charles Cain - Aug 17th 2010

With less than 60 days before the opening of our Old Orchard store, we're working furiously to finalize the design elements so that we can get contractor bids and begin construction. The process is made significantly more complicated by the 176 page Retail Design Criteria Manual from Westfield, the Mall Developer and Landlord. EVERY element of the design is covered by some rule. While they will make exceptions based on specific retail merchandising strategies or branding elements, Westfield has the final say on what we can and cannot do with the exterior an interior of our space.

For example, the new design criteria requires us to remove the green awning (pictured to the right) and take the glass up to the full 12 foot height of the internal ceiling. It was not an option to simply paint the facade and put up a sign.

In some cases, like our Naperville store, the design is simple enough (or in this case the options limited by the historically protected status of the building) that we can do the design internally... more >

When to break the rules

Charles Cain - Jul 25th 2010

In business you have to know who you are, what makes you different, and who your customers are. Itís described a lot of different ways, but this is the basis behind your business model. This is your core. And you never deviate from your core, right? Wrong.

Adagioís plan for our brick-and-mortar retail expansion is to open retail-only tea shops where a customer can enjoy a cup of tea, but we wonít be distracted by food or customer seating. Iíve often explained it this way. Assume we add four tables with four seats each to a cute little tea shop. You rarely get four people sitting at a table for four, so letís assume that we get an average of 8 people per hour to sit down and enjoy a $3 cup of tea. Thatís $24 in sales per hour Ė roughly equivalent to a single retail sale. To get that $24, I need an extra 150 square feet for the tables and male AND female, handicap-accessible bathrooms (two bathrooms required for 10 seats or more). In total, youíre realistically talking about an extra 300 square feet for one extra retail sale per hour... more >

Now Hiring: Store Managers

Charles Cain - Jul 23rd 2010

Position: Store Manager
Location: Naperville, Skokie, and Chicago IL
Type: Full time salaried

Adagio Teas is seeking experienced and passionate retail professionals to manage our first Tea Retail Store in Naperville, IL and our second store at Old Orchard Mall. The right candidate will have previous retail management and training experience and a passion for customer service. Adagio Store Managers are front-line, lead-by-example tea evangelists on a mission to introduce casual consumers to Adagio's collection of more than 200 premium loose-leaf teas and line of tea brewing equipment and accessories.

Adagio Tea Stores are designed to be a playground for tea. Where else can you sniff and fondle hundreds of teas all on your own, or get a guided tour from a trained expert? Customers are encouraged to create custom tea blends, brew samples of any tea in the building, and test tea accessories on our Cupping Table... more >

Adagio's Second Retail Shop

Charles Cain - Jul 8th 2010

I'm excited to announce that our second Tea Experience Retail Store will open in October in an 1,128 square foot, corner location at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, Illinois.

While not our first store (read more about the Naperville location here), this will be our first test on a larger stage. I say this for two reasons. First, because the the cost of prime mall space is much higher. Second, because the foot traffic will be greater. Third, because Teavana also has a store in Old Orchard Mall. The two stores are separated by a little more than the length of a city block.

This isn't about a vendetta with Teavana by any means, but it was a conscious decision to take on some real competition early in our growth. I also believe that two good tea shops in an area will attract more tea lovers. Few women who want to go dress shopping would go to a mall with only one dress store. With 76% of the households in the US buying packaged tea products, the market of tea drinkers is certainly large enough to support two stores in a single mall... more >