Small businesses hold a special place in my heart. My mom worked for many years at my aunt and uncle's family business. She knew most of the customers, and probably knew their families, too. People talked about their kids and their lives as they did business. They connected one another to other local services. Customers were loyal and customer service was excellent. My sister and I roamed in and out of the shop, always leaving with a hug. It's not something seen in big-box or chain shopping, for sure.
Last weekend I attended T Project's tea and dumpling party and was taken back to that feeling of a small business with heart. Teri Gelber runs this highly curated shop in Portland, Oregon. She offers her own tea blends and local/regional items like salts, jams, pottery, linens and clothing.
I appreciated Teri's discussion of her desire to source teas from small farmers. She believes that small businesses help one another survive.
This event was a celebration of the Lunar New Year. We enjoyed conversation, teas and delicious foods. We started with traditional foods like dates, watermelon seeds and citrus.
Teri brewed several rounds of tea: Dragonwell Green, Old Tree Sheng Pu-Erh, Bi Luo Chun Golden/Black and Da Hong Pao Oolong. As she brewed, we enjoyed handmade dumplings - fabulous!
And to finish off, we sampled an assortment of Japanese sweets from Gena at Yume Confections. It's another example of small businesses supporting one another.
It was a beautiful afternoon. My senses were full of color, texture, flavor. I met new people and enjoyed the company of old friends. I was reminded of the importance of, the gift of small business.