Old Town store takes root
The newest business to grace Hemel Hempstead’s OldTown is taking root in the High Street.
The Tea Tree is a vintage-inspired tea room created by Dacorum’s Den winner Lisa Westwood, who was given £2,000 of funding by ‘dragons’ from the borough council and Maylands Partnership to turn her dream business into a reality.
The store was opened by Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning, who said:“I am delighted to open the Tea Tree and I wish Lisa and her staff and family the best of luck with the new venture.
“The Old Town is a beautiful location and I encourage everyone to visit and support the local businesses.
“It’s a great place to go for a walk and stop off for a cup of tea and a slice of cake!”
Homegrown entrepreneur Lisa, 38, who grew up in Abbots Langley and now lives in Kings Langley, said the shop has enjoyed a very busy first weeks and has received lots of great support from the community.
The Tea Tree held a stall at the Old Town’s launch festival in July and, according to Lisa, received lots of positive feedback, with many eagerly awaiting the new cafe’s launch which took place over the August bank holiday weekend.
Lisa said: “It might all be down to the novelty at the moment, but we’ve been shocked by how busy we are.
“It’s great – we’ve been rushed off our feet and have had lots of supportive and patient customers.
“I think we’re going full circle now with vintage tea rooms coming back into fashion again, and it’s a novelty becase there aren’t many places like us in Hemel Hempstead.
“It’s going to be a steep learning curve for us in the next few weeks in terms of what sells well and what doesn’t, but it’s all really positive so far.”
The business is certainly getting off to a flying start, as on one day the tea rooms completely sold out of cake, while owner Lisa has even had a request to use the venue for a wedding reception next year.
She is also considering growing her staff-base already, as she currently employs only one other worker but has had to rely on friends and family helping out to cope with the demand.
The quirky venue features old-fashioned china cups and saucers and will also sell sweets and be open for a more extensive ‘brunch’ menu at weekends.
There are hopes to introduce an ice cream range in the future, too.
The Tea Tree is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4pm and Sunday from 10am to 3pm.
It is located at 23 High Street.