Adagio Teas' venture into physical retail   learn more >
Email:   >

Archive: Opening a Store


Window of Opportunity

When you open a retail store, you have about six months before your new neighbors don’t see you as “the interesting new store on the block,” and the hype you had when you first opened your door decreases. When you’re a new store, your neighbors want to see what just opened and help your store succeed. Connecting with hotels, cafes, restaurants and other stores will never be easier than it is during those first six months. more >

Third Store: First Thoughts

It’s been just under a month since we opened our third retail store in downtown Chicago on State and Ohio. We unfortunately missed the black Friday sales, seeing as we opened about 2:30 that day. The good news is that we’re getting lots of positive feedback and positive results to some of the changes we’ve made. more >

Investing in an outdoor patio

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. I'm working on the design for our outdoor patio at our Old Orchard Mall location and trying to determine how much to invest. more >

The real estate minefield

The commercial retail real estate market is splitting. The best locations are thriving while many others are seeing rising vacancies and shrinking rents. The process of selecting retail sites has become more complex than ever in a market characterized by churn and uncertainty. more >

Measuring profitability in a tea store

Five months after opening Adagio's first retail store it's clear that we've captured the attention of the industry and the interest of the consumer. The challenge now is to fine tune the operation and our approach to reach that elusive promised land of profitability. There are five key metrics of profitability that I'm tracking... more >

Timing a store opening

In business, timing is everything. Location is everything too. And so are people. Apparently, in writing about business, hyperbole is everything. Hyperbole aside, while timing won’t make or break your business, it can have a huge impact on how quickly you break even, and how much cash you need to reach the promised land of profitability. more >

Analyzing the first month's results

The first month is in the history books at Adagio's first "Tea Experience" retail store and it's time to recap and analyze the results. Overall, the store and the model has been successful, but we've definitely seen a few surprises! more >

First impressions of the new store

It's been a little more than a week since we opened Adagio's first Tea Experience Retail Store and the initial results are both good and also a bit surprising. Customer traffic is good, the product mix is shocking, and the challenge of balancing customer engagement and efficiency is proving, as expected, to be the greatest challenge. more >

We're OPEN!

Adagio Teas' first "Tea Experience" retail store opened at 27 W. Jefferson in downtown Naperville, IL at 4PM on Sunday, October 3rd. It was the very definition of a "soft open". No press release, no advertising, no announcements, just unlocked the door and hung an open sign in the window. The concept store was born without a sound... or so we expected... more >

Why Does it Cost So Much?

Sure, it’s nice to have, but are all those expensive design elements really necessary to open a successful tea shop? On a weekly basis I hear from existing and prospective tea entrepreneurs asking variations on this same question. I believe that a quick survey of the retail market and an analysis of human behavior answer this question with a qualified “YES”! more >

Designing a Storefront

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. more >

Getting Started: Opening a Tearoom

Whether the vision is traditional English, tranquil and trendy Asian, or some modern fusion, I've never met a tea lover that doesn't get excited by the prospect of sitting down to enjoy a few tea inspired dishes and a flight of premium loose teas with friends. In this piece I've described what I believe are the keys to success for opening a successful tearoom or tea bistro. more >

Selecting Finishes

Now that I'm less than two months from the target opening of the first Adagio Retail store, it's time to make some final decisions on finishes. This is one of the more enjoyable, if somewhat intimidating parts of the process. It's fun to play designer, and it's hard to picture what the finished store will look like sitting in front of a bunch of little samples. Here's what I've selected and why. more >

The hope, despair and hope of lease negotiations

I've been silent for a while on our progress in securing our first retail location. The main reason for this is I got tired of tweeting that we were days away from signing a lease each week. We have completed the lease negotiations and are now waiting on final paperwork on a Main Street, Suburban-Chicago location. I've also completed LOI (Letter of Intent) negotiations on our first mall location and am awaiting a draft of the lease. more >

Choosing a store location

In Retail, success is all about location, location, location. We all "know" this, and yet the majority of tea shops are in terrible locations. The problem is not a matter of intellect but of experience and perspective. Few tea entrepreneurs understand the profile of their typical customer an many incorrectly project their own buying preferences and behaviors on their customer. In the following article I will attempt to briefly describe the "perfect location", and dispel several key myths that lead people down dead ends of business and marketing strategy. more >

When the landlord says no -- UPDATED

There are few things in retail more frustrating than finding the perfect location with the perfect size on the perfect street, offering the landlord's asking price and getting turned down! What did I do wrong? What more does the landlord want? What could I have done, or can I do next time, to avoid going through this process again only to be disappointed? more >

The Cost of Doing Business

Ask 10 people what it costs to open a tea shop and you'll get 10 totally different answers. Ask those same 10 people what it costs to open a profitable tea shop and you'll be lucky if one of them has a clue. When asked this question, and with none of the necessary information like size, location, product mix or business strategy, I usually answer by saying that I personally would not go into the tea business unless could afford to invest at least... more >

Competition: How much is a good thing?

My top priority these days is finding that perfect first location. I'm looking at some pretty impressive options, but am currently a little caught up in an internal debate over how much competition is a good thing. I'm not so sure how opening a store nearby an existing tea shop would be seen by the local community, the tea community, or the competition. Am I crazy to consider opening a shop a block away from one of the biggest names in the Specialty Tea Industry? more >

The value of a Broker in site selection

In retail, location is everything! We've all heard that before, and yet I don't think I've ever seen a course on how to find the perfect retail location. As with most things in business, there are a lot of common sense concepts and strategies, and a few tricks that may not be so obvious. One of those is the importance of a Real Estate Broker. more >