After five and a half years, Britannia Teas and Gifts has closed the doors of its location at 199 Water Street.
In the end, owner Kelly Jones says the rising cost of doing business put the squeeze on the small storefront. But, says Jones, even though the shop is at the end of its brick-and-mortar existence, it doesn’t mean tea time is over in St. John’s—for her shop or other small businesses downtown.
“Small business thrives downtown,” says Jones. “I believe boutique shopping downtown is exceptional. Service and quality are excellent. Bricks and mortar is no longer for me, but I don’t think that it wouldn’t be good for someone else. There are issues downtown, but there are different issues elsewhere.”
Parking is one of the issues that plagued Britannia Teas and other downtown business, along with anybody that’s ever tried to get a parking space below Queen’s Road.
“It would be great if there was a direct bus that made only a few stops,” says Jones. “There was a shuttle bus downtown a couple of summers ago, but no one knew about it.” [Buddy the Bus, 2009-2009, R.I.P.]
Jones is upbeat when discussing the prospect of competition created when bigger businesses come to town, like DavidsTeas at the Avalon Mall.
“I think competition is good,” says Jones. “It lets your current customers see how you compare. It keeps you on your toes. We didn’t lose any business, in fact we gained many new customers. Many people who shop at the malls don’t often shop downtown, but when they learn about a new product and discovered there was a local business, they’ll come and see what you have on offer.”
Britannia Teas and Gifts online store at www.britanniateas.ca is scheduled to be up and running in April.