The idea of opening a tea shop has been steeping on the Clarke family's back burner for a while.
"We had vision and have been looking for a place for years," said Don Clarke of Kennewick. He and his wife, Olga, and their son, Alex, finally found it at 244 Williams Blvd., in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland.
In preparation, they attended gift shows and sampled teas from around the world.
"When we found this space, we already knew what we wanted in our store," said Olga Clarke.
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On June 15, the Magic Tree Gift and Tea Boutique became a reality.
"We have over 40 teas, both loose and bags," said Olga Clarke. "We buy it from all over the world. India, Nepal, China. We've tried to find the very best products."
In Europe, where she grew up, serving tea is a social ritual.
"You sit with family and friends and enjoy it. It's not just something you drink and go," she said. "It's something to savor."
To enhance the experience, the Clarkes also sell a variety of china tea pots, cups and saucers, infusers and strainers, all the accessories necessary for preparing and relishing a hot cup of tea.
Olga Clarke encourages customers to try unfamiliar teas.
"I talk to people, find out what they prefer. If they're not sure, I'll brew a cup to try," she said.
In addition to teas and tea accessories, the Clarkes have also gathered a wide variety of gift items for their shop including scarves and clocks, jewelry and skin care products, clothing and knickknacks.
"This is the place to come for a gift for men, women, any occasion," said Don Clarke. "We have unique teas and distinctive gifts."
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 943-7300.