David’s Tea comes closer to world domination, but can it survive in the coffee-loving Annex?
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.
5 thoughts on “David’s Tea comes closer to world domination, but can it survive in the coffee-loving Annex?”
Went by 5 days after they opened and they’d already sold out of a good deal of stock. Something tells me they’re going to be just fine.
Been here twice now. I hate to be a curmudgeon but the staff is super perky to the point of extreme annoyance. Settle down folks, you’re not Walmart greeters.
The tea is all lined up in identical colour-coded cans. Nice from an interior design standpoint; a shame if you’d like to see the unique and anachronistic qualities of each tea on display.
Apart from one small table in the front, the seating is shoved in a very plain, unwelcoming space at the very back of the store. It’s like they don’t want you to stay. And perhaps they don’t; it’s not part of the business model.
The whole experience is a little too slick and sterile for my taste. The store looks like it was lifted right out of a suburban mall and plopped down into the Annex. It’s a tea shop designed by an MBA.
If you love Starbucks you’ll probably like David’s Tea, but if you like a warm, human experience when having a nice cuppa, stay away.
This article is suspiciously similar to one I read in the West Annex News three days before this one one came out. http://tinyurl.com/26n8rqb
Isn’t it propert netiquette to give credit, and link if you are going to lift ideas out of someone else’s blog?
Yup. It’s a little slick. But it’s still a good addition to the neighborhood. Sure beats having yet another wings joint open in the Annex. My hope is that businesses like David’s Tea, Guu, and Rowe Farms will add a bit more variety to the strip and convince other businesses that Bloor Street can sustain more than just futon and vitamin shops.
It’s trendy. And expensive, the ceramic cups of tea I think I saw for $19.95 a pop. The service is OK – the teas lined up the back doesn’t bother me – but after reading the post above it sort of reminded me of cigarettes! I think it will do well, actually.
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