, Salem, MA

January 9, 2013

Jolie Tea looks to add cafe in Hamilton

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMILTON — Since it opened less than two years ago, Jolie Tea Co. has become a popular retail spot for people across the region to buy loose-leaf tea from all over the world.

Now, owner Amy Job is hoping to expand her Bay Road business to give customers a place to order a brewed cup of the store’s signature teas. She also plans to sell light pastries and other goods, but there will be no cooking on-site.

“It is a good way for people to try out tea they aren’t familiar with in a setting where you can take it to go or sit down,” she said.

The store is in the same building as the Black Cow Tap & Grill, which reopened last month after undergoing renovations for seven months.

Job said it was always part of the store’s concept to include a cafe, but there wasn’t enough room in the store until an adjacent retail space opened up.

If she gets site plan review approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals, she will expand the store into the vacant space to include the cafe. She is scheduled to go before the board tonight.

During an advisory vote, the Planning Board unanimously supported the expansion.

Customers will often come into the store and offer thoughts on how seating could be added to the retail shop, Job said.

“We really want to meet the interest of our customers,” Job said. “We’ve had so many requests to serve tea.”

The roughly 1,000-square-foot new cafe will match the store’s contemporary French influence, she said.

Job said the cafe should bring more foot traffic to the area, which will benefit other businesses in the area, as well.

“The businesses will complement each other well,” she said.

While the store has hosted many community events in the past, Job hopes the expansion will allow for more community events to take place at the store. This includes events with authors, musicians, artists and book groups.

The store opened in March 2011. Besides more than 150 loose-leaf teas, there is also an extensive selection of teapots, tea accessories and books.

Job said the store has become a destination spot for many people across the North Shore.

“There has been tremendous community support,” Job said.