The Mill’s kitchen smelled like an herbal garden earlier this week, thanks to a tea tasting with Levitea Tea Bar. For 40-year-old founder Tynisha Lomax, her business is more than just a tea shop.
“Tea means being able to travel the world in a cup,” she explained. She imports her tea leaves from China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, India and South Africa to make custom blends like Blue Rocks Oolong and Sweet White Peach.
The business was also a way for her to survive a tough year in her life. “I used my inheritance from my father and my mother in law in 2013, my husband and I lost one of each of our parents, weeks apart. It was an insane time,” she explained.
Lomax recently moved her boutique tea business to a new location in Wilmington, from 228 W. 9th Street to 807 N. Union Street between Trolley Square and downtown Wilmington. Her store did not have a brick and mortar shop for a couple of months as she searched for a new location following several complications with her landlord. While she’s in the process of rebranding her business and settling into the new location at SkyPointe Church, she decided to hold a tasting.
She wanted to make sure her customers knew she was still around and open for business. She made weekly appearances at the Rodney Square farmer’s market over the summer, but the season has now come to a close.
So where does the company stand after two years of operation? “Currently trying to go from a one-woman show to a big company,” says Lomax as she expressed interest in franchising her tea blends.
But Lomax has interests that go beyond expanding her business as she would like to be more steeped (!) in the community. She wants her shop to be a meeting place for creative individuals. She grew up in Wilmington with her husband, her “high school sweetheart,” and recalled it being a completely different place when she was younger. That was before she went away to art school in North Carolina and spent a brief stint in Baltimore.
2013 marked the year she came home to become a part of the creative entrepreneurial force within the city.
“There aren’t a lot of places in the city that are artsy and eclectic. We’re a very business town, you go to work and then you go home. You might go to a show but it’s gonna be pretty stiff. A lot of my friends moved away, we took a lot of the soul of the city with us when we moved. A big part of it was to create a place for local artists,” said Lomax.
For more information about the tea designer’s whereabouts and tastings, Lomax says the company’s Facebook page is the best way to keep up until her website is redesigned.
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