Staci Parker, her husband, Ethan, and their five children own Too Soul Tea Co. at 542 & 1/2 Plumas St., the previous location of the Great Basin Community Food Co-op. The tea shop opened two weeks ago and will have a grand opening on Dec. 15, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit www.facebook.com/TooSoulTeaCo.
Do you make your own tea?
No. We work with a picker who has been picking since he was 10. He gets it all over the country. I’m very fortunate to have partnered up with him. When I was looking for a tea distributor, I didn’t even realize that we had one here in Reno so when I get a chance I want to meet up with them and get tea local. We believe—and I say “we” because this is a family-owned business—in sourcing and feeding and fueling each other, so I don’t just get my goods from one person.
How’s business been?
We just opened two weeks ago. I can’t complain. For not doing any advertising, the co-op has sent everybody over here to see what we have done with the place. They have been wonderful in supporting us. The Reno Bead Shop has been wonderful. I get so much traffic from them. … The first week was slow … You know, I wouldn’t have wanted it any different because if we had been bombarded, I wouldn’t have gotten to know the clients like I’ve gotten to do, and we already have regulars on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, and I am grateful that it has been a bit slow to get to know the people. Friday and Saturday was a little overwhelming. It was just me and my daughter, and this place was completely packed. I had four or five people standing at the counter, I had eight people outside. We do have outdoor seating.
What’s your experience with tea? What made you take this on?
My husband’s from back east, and Harney & Sons Tea have a tea shop there where you go in this old building, and they have the big tins, and you get to smell the tea and taste the tea. On a rainy day I would always take the girls—we have five kids [four girls and one boy]—and it was like a thing for them to go in the summertime. Our oldest daughter would always come back and say, “Reno doesn’t have any good tea places.” Since she was probably in third grade, she’s always wanted to open up a tea shop. And last year, she’s a junior in college, she approached my husband and I and said, “You guys should really just open up a tea store and let me run it.” My husband and I were like, “OK, we’ll think about it.” We’ve always loved tea, but the more I read about tea, the more passionate I got about tea because tea is—I’m going to get emotional here—something that people forget, that another human being actually picks that tea. And our society is so fast right now, we are such in a fast pace, that I feel it’s very important when we stop and make a cup of tea that we take the time to appreciate the people, the earth, the sun, that gives us this beautiful drink that is very beneficial to our health.
Tell me about the name.
In surfing or snow boarding, you say “Oh, that’s soul,” and that means it’s too cool or you put your whole soul into it to do the trick. That’s what our girls came up with. My license plate says “2Souls” which is my husband and I, and it’s been that for forever. The girls wanted it to represent Tahoe because they love Tahoe, so that’s how they would describe it, to be a Reno-Tahoe thing. So we just added the Tea Co. to it.