David’s Tea comes closer to world domination, but can it survive in the coffee-loving Annex?

David’s Tea comes closer to world domination, but can it survive in the coffee-loving Annex?

The Annex loves its coffee (Image: John Vetterli) 

Last weekend, a new David’s Tea location opened in the old Alex Cuts space along the Annex’s busy Bloor Street strip ($20 haircut lovers can breathe easy; Alex just moved a couple blocks away). After witnessing the recent closing of two tea shops on the two-block stretch from Brunswick to Albany, we can’t help but wonder: does David’s Tea have what it takes to avoid suffering the same fate as the late T-Café and All Things Tea?

David Segal—the David in David’s Tea—obviously thinks that it does. And he has reasons to be cocky. Since his chain opened in Montreal in 2008, it has expanded to 40 locations across Canada. There’s no doubt that they get certain things right, namely excellent branding and customer service. “You get what you put in,” says David. “Our goal is to make tea fun, modern, and accessible to the average person, rather than intimidating or old fashioned. Tea is like fashion: it’s all about presentation and offering an exclusive, unique product.”

But the Annex is a coffee-loving neighbourhood. On this same portion of Bloor, there are bustling cafés like Aroma, Insomnia, Green Beanery and Futures—to say nothing of Starbucks and Second Cup. All of them sell tea, of course, which must have helped in the demise of the two tea-tippling predecessors. Additionally, T-Café was more of a restaurant than a teahouse and All Things Tea didn’t even have a proper sign.

Only time will tell, but our money is on David surviving despite the odds. A dose of professionalism and a recognizable name might be all it takes to attract the Annex’s glut of yoga lovers and hipster students.