Tea, antiques, and pipes
More Marketplace Changes
by Tony McReynolds & Sally Mitani
Teavana, a fast-growing mall chain selling high-quality teas and the pots to make them in, has opened a store in Briarwood. Tim Auck, the personable manager, came up from the Teavana in Columbus, Ohio, and is a jolly font of surprising tea trivia. Did you know, for instance, that many high-quality teas can be reinfused, making the question "What's your most expensive tea?" a meaningless one? Case in point: according to Auck, the monkey-picked oolong, which sounds expensive at $12.50 an ounce, is a very good value, because you can reinfuse it many times. (It's not actually picked by monkeys either, though it used to be.)
Did you know that the dragonfly is a Japanese symbol of new beginnings? For that reason, a cast iron teapot embossed with dragonflies is a popular wedding present. While Teavana also sells glass and porcelain teapots, heat-retaining cast iron pots are the best way to make tea, Auck says, and at $65 to $230 "there is a cast iron pot for every budget."
A wall of drawers in the back of the shop houses various grades and blends of the big four teas: white, green, oolong, and black. There are also herbals, like rooibos (a South African noncaffeinated plant) and maté (an Argentinian herb with as much caffeine as coffee). And while one senses Auck's slight disdain at the mention of them, he does carry frivolous herbal blends like "piņa colada."
You don't need to know what you want. Auck and his staff will take care of that. "We find out why they want to drink tea, and that's the tea we're going to help them find. So if someone wants to lower their blood pressure or cholesterol, we're going to direct them toward black tea. If they want antioxidants, they're going to go toward the white tea. If they want a tea for weight loss, we can help them with that. If they want a tea to boost their immune system, we
can help them with that."
Whoa, back up a minute. What was that about weight loss? "Monkey-picked oolong. It boosts your metabolism."
Teavana, Briarwood mall. 769-0128. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. www.teavana.com
Lucky Haskins Antiques & Oddities opened in the former Such a Find Antiques space in the Lamp Post Plaza March 1, but Lucky had nothing to do with it-there's no such person. Owner Adnan Hourani came up with the name while driving south on I-75 through Ohio after seeing a single exit sign for two different towns: Luckey and Haskins. "It just sounded so cool," says Hourani. "I thought, that's what I'm going to name my shop some day."
Hourani, thirty-nine, spent eighteen years cooking in local restaurants, but he'd always dabbled in antiques on the side. Five years ago he decided to quit cooking and try to make a living as a full-time dealer. Since then he's been renting space in other dealers' stores, but he always wanted a place of his own. So when What a Find co-owner Jon Pear decided to quit the antiques business last winter, Hourani took over the space (Pear had a partner, Melanie Diana, and they had two stores-the other, Such a Find Estate Liquidations, is still open at 4090 Packard).
The Lamp Post store has just 600 square feet of floor space, but Hourani's managed to pack in a lot of merchandise without it feeling overcrowded. He rents out space to other dealers, but half the stock is his. "We specialize in oddities and the unusual," he says. That includes everything from comics and costume jewelry to working desk phones from the '40s and Star Wars collectibles from the '70s. "The idea was to make it fun," says Hourani. "We've got an Archie Bunker doll next to my Waterford crystal. You come in, it's wacky."
Lucky Haskins Antiques & Oddities, 2366 E. Stadium Blvd. (Lamp Post Plaza). 975-6900. Daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
After five years on South University, the New York Pizza Depot moved to a new location on Jackson Road when its lease ran out last month. As of this writing, it wasn't clear whether it would keep the same name or change it to Uncle D's New York Pizza. It depends on whether a franchisee buys it. Maurizio Grillo, who opened the original New York Pizza Depot on William Street with four cousins in 1997, says they're franchising their original concept but under a different name: "We used one of those companies that pick a name for you, and Uncle D's was one of those catchy names they think will work out." So far they've sold three franchises, and the Jackson Road location may become the fourth.
Grillo and his partners took over the space, formerly Mama Rosa's, from Michael Argiero, who decided to close his year-old Italian restaurant last winter. "He's a friend of ours anyway, so it was a pretty easy and safe and secure transaction," says Grillo. He's even happier they were able to move the whole operation, employees and all. "We literally trans-ferred all the equipment and all the people to Jackson. We saw a great opportunity not to lay off any people.
New York Pizza Depot, 3901 Jackson Rd. (Jackson Center). 913-5555. Daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Though the name might give you a different impression, "all the merchandise is for smoking legal tobacco," says the manager of the Wild Side Smoke Shop, which opened in January in the Courtyard Shops on Plymouth. Nevertheless, he says, the store prefers to fly beneath the radar, and he declined to be named, much less interviewed (see My Town.
He didn't throw us out, though, so we took a look around and can report that if a person were looking for a novel and aesthetically satisfying way to smoke legal tobacco, or if a person happened to come across some of that recently legalized medical marijuana and was wondering about delivery systems, this store would be worth checking out. At the high end are the HVY (pronounced "heavy") water pipes that go for hundreds of dollars. Under the glass counter are rows and rows of swirly, colored-glass pipes that look like hard candy and sell for $20 and up. The Wild Side also sells hookahs-and we must leave it to others to hash out, so to speak, the difference between a hookah and a bong-and the flavored tobacco to put in them.
If a person were certified to smoke medical marijuana and wanted a gentle way to imbibe it, the manager recommends a vaporizer, which heats it just enough to release the THC, which is sucked down through a hose.
Wild Side Smoke Shop, 1731 Plymouth Rd. (Courtyard Shops). 929-4851. Daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Austin & Warburton jewelers is coming off its second-best year ever, so owners Craig and Brenda Warburton decided it was time to close their store. Craig says that's not as screwy as it sounds-20 to 25 percent of last year's sales came from online sales and wholesale jewelry manufacturing. As those sales continue to grow, maintaining a showroom made less and less sense. "Retail is changing so fast," says Craig. "The way we buy things as a society is so different than it was even two years ago. I don't want to be on the back end of that curve. I want to be on the front end of that curve." Not that they were ever very far behind: they've had a website for more than fifteen years.
Retail's long hours factored into the decision, too. "I haven't had Saturdays off in twenty-three years," Craig says. "My kids are twelve and fifteen. I eat with them twice a week."
Craig says everything about the business revolves around his wife. "Brenda builds jewelry that could sit in Tiffany's and Cartier. She has won more awards for design and quality than anyone in the Midwest," including three Spectrum Awards, which Craig calls the equivalent of the Oscar in jewelry design. He says that both her custom jewelry and her "Parent and Child" pendants (featuring a mother holding a child in your choice of precious metals and set with a birthstone) are selling like hotcakes online, making a show-room extraneous.
The going-out-of-business sale was continuing through the end of May.
Austin & Warburton, 704 S. Main. 663-7151. Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.austinandwarburton.com
[Originally published in June, 2009.]