Savoy Tea Company, a specialty tea company based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is opening its first Kansas City tea shop and cafe in Lenexa City Center.
Located at 16953 City Center Drive in The District, Savoy Tea Company is slated to open Sept. 28. The shop will have a soft opening Friday, Sept. 25.
“We really want people to come in and discover tea, maybe for the first time or if they haven’t drank tea in a while, to expand their knowledge and learn about tea,” said Bill Beyer, who with his wife, Tina Beyer, owns the company. “The more you know about it and learn about it, it just becomes more exciting.”
Beyer said they selected Kansas City as their next big market primarily because of its close proximity to northwest Arkansas. They also have family nearby in Leawood. Lenexa City Center was their ideal spot because of its “up-and-coming” new development and highway accessibility.
Beyer said they have other prospective Kansas City locations, although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on some of those plans.
“What’s crazy is we were cruising along, settled on Lenexa City Center, we signed the lease and all stores were up year-to-date — it was about two weeks later, they shut down the country,” Beyer said. “On Saturday, we were up like crazy, then the Monday it starts, it was like nothing, just an instant drop, it just came to a screeching halt.”
Savoy Tea Company will offer 140 in-house varieties and blends of tea for purchase, including caffeine-free and herbals. The roughly 1,200-square-foot shop will feature a cafe with tea and coffee to drink in the lounge areas, including an outdoor patio. Savoy blends all of its teas and offers classes and workshops as well as tastings of “tea flights.” Some of those events may be postponed or organized differently during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, due to COVID-19, the tea shop will follow state and local health and safety regulations. The shop itself will have hand-sanitizing stations, touchless pay and limited seating that’s spaced apart for physical distancing. Customers will be asked to wear masks when moving about the shop. Staff will wear masks and offer masks for customers without one.
Lenexa will become Savoy Tea Company’s third location. The company has two active locations in Arkansas. Savoy had expanded to two additional shops which have already closed, including one in a mall in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Beyer said they hope to launch more shops in the future.
“We see an opportunity to take what we’re doing — because it’s really unique in the tea industry — and take it all over the country,” said Bill Beyer. “To us, these artisan teas, these beautiful, rare teas, are amazing. We want people to be introduced to those.”
Hours of operation are tentatively planned for 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., although Beyer expects they will expand those hours once things return to normal.