A look inside at the brand new Steepery Tea Bar in Madison, Wisc.
AAP staff report
MADISON, Wis. (Sept. 21, 2012) — The folks who introduced the Twin Cities to bubble tea 10 years ago are now spreading their ‘pearls’ of wisdom into Badger territory.
Steepery Tea, LLC, owners of The Tea Garden and Steepery Tea Bar, on Sept. 21, opened its newest store in Madison, Wisc. This marks the company’s first location outside of the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, bring its unique customer-driven menu and fun, friendly and relaxing atmosphere to another great university and capitol city.
“When we decided it was time to expand beyond the Twin Cities, it was only natural we made Madison our first choice,” said Nick Nguyen, CEO of Steepery Tea. “With the large student population and being named one of the top three cities for young professionals, Madison exemplifies the Steepery Tea Bar customer.”
Steepery Tea Bar (steepery.com) is located in downtown Madison at 430 State Street. Customers will be able to create over 40,000 drink combinations with more than 50 varieties of loose leaf teas, nearly 40 different flavors and nine varieties of bubbles (chewy tapioca pearls and flavored jellies that can be added to any beverage). Locally sourced salads, sandwiches and desserts will also be available on the menu.
Upholding the importance of supporting the communities in which the company’s tea bars are located in, the Madison location will regularly showcase local artists and musicians.
“In addition to delicious beverages, we provide a comfortable space to work and study,” Nguyen added. “On weekends, we become a fun, nightlife alternative to bars.”
Steepery Tea Bar will be open Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Madison is the company’s sixth location and second store under the Steepery Tea Bar branding. The company is family-owned and introduced the tea bar concept to Minnesota in 2002.
Current locations include Uptown Minneapolis, Grand Ave. in St. Paul, University of Minnesota Stadium Village, Mall of America and Seasons Market shopping center in Woodbury.
When Diana Nguyen started her first Tea Garden in the Uptown neighborhood of Hennepin Avenue in 2002, she said her family wanted to offer a popular destination alternative to coffee shops as a bubble tea café that also offers more than 60 organic, fair-trade teas from around the world.
It fast became known as a great hang out for young or old and for its healthy products. Within two years they opened a second Tea Garden in St. Paul on Grand Avenue near the five private colleges in the area.
Within a year Tea Garden had another location at the Stadium Village Mall on the east bank of the University of Minnesota. Soon after another location opened on the Second Level Skyway near the U.S. Bank Building in Downtown St. Paul.
The Tea Garden opened its fifth location in 2010 at the Mall of America.
Tea Garden is a unique family business in that each member is an equal co-owner with specific responsibilities.
Diana Nguyen’s daughter, Christina, created the Tea Garden concept in 2000 when she was just 16 years-old. Within a year she had designed the first store and put together an employee training manual. She even chose the vendors.
Diana Nguyen came to the United States from Saigon at age 14. Her father was a Managing Director at 3M in Vietnam and they sponsored the family to the company headquarters in Minnesota. She was educated in St. Paul and earned a degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota.
In her 11 years with 3M, Diana cross-trained in graphic design and corporate communications. Her husband is also with 3M as a specialist in project management.
In 1997, she left 3M to expand her private graphics business, finding her niche with the growing demand for bilingual and creative wedding invitations, restaurant menus, newsletters, and books. She still operates her graphic business – under private contracts – in addition to running The Tea Garden.
Her son, Nick, is a Berkeley graduate in Math and Economics, and owns a bubble tea wholesale business called TG Wholesale. He is also the President and CEO of The Tea Garden, Inc. He maintains a very competitive edge in the metro area by keeping close watch on the import/export tea market, and a closer watch on sales at their shops.