, Salem, MA

January 23, 2013

Cafe proposal blocked because of septic issues

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMILTON — There will be no hot tea served at the Jolie Tea Co.’s Bay Road store.

Owner Amy Job was hoping to expand her retail business into an adjacent vacant storefront to include a cafe, but the plan was dropped because the building’s septic system is at capacity.

“We are not able to move forward,” Job said. “We are really disappointed about that. It really came down to the septic system.”

The store is in the same building as the Black Cow Tap & Grill, which reopened at the end of last year after seven months of renovations. The septic system cannot support both the restaurant and a cafe, she said.

Job said she will keep her eyes open for a new location in the Hamilton/Wenham area.

“I love this building and I love this space, but it is part of our business plan to serve tea,” Job said. “It is about finding the right location that can support our business.”

The proposed roughly 1,000-square-foot casual cafe would have offered the store’s signature teas and light pastries.

“We had tremendous support from the committees and the town,” she said.

The Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals had both approved the proposal. Job was initially going to seek a variance from the Board of Health, but decided not to after meeting with town health officials about her plan.

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

“What our customers want is a place to sit down and drink tea,” she said.

Job said she is thankful that they found out about the septic issues before they started renovations.

“When one door closes, another one opens,” she said. “I am a firm believer in that, and I know we will find the right location. We will have to be patient.”

In the meantime, the business plans to offer online sales from its website, This option was expected to be launched today, Job said.