A recent addition to the Downtown Columbus landscape is serving dessert teas from a storefront, promoting itself as a convenient location for people working downtown to grab lunch on the go accompanied by flavored teas, hot or iced.
Located on 259 S. Third St., Sweet Simpliciteas prides itself of its nearly 30 offerings of gourmet loose leaf blends, which are all composed of natural ingredients and premium tea leaves.
After winning Kickstart Columbus in November 2013, which granted owner Aisha Echols a year’s worth of free rent since January this year, she started putting the ideas into work in this retail space Downtown. On May 31, Sweet Simpliciteas opened its doors to the public.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for a small business like mine,” Echols said. “It allowed me to jump in without that extra expense.”
For the next year, Echols only needs to pay 50% of the original rent, and in the third year, she will be responsible for 75% of the rent fees. Other prizes include free advertising space with ColumbusUnderground.com for a year, and some monetary funds to aid with the cost of building up the space.
Sweet Simpliciteas collaborates with local businesses to build a more wholesome atmosphere with grab-and-go food and locally produced items. Food offerings to look forward to when visiting the store include roasted beef sandwiches custom-made for Sweet Simpliciteas by Freedom a la Cart, homemade pop tarts and lemon pound cakes by The Angry Baker, salted caramel toffee donuts by Destination Donuts, and many more. Also featured on made-to-order stands in the store are Ohio-proud Celebrate Local items.
Using reclaimed barn wood and refurbished theatre seats that have been around for more than 100 years, Echols wishes to project the store as a peaceful sanctuary.
“Mint green is my logo color and that color comes from a very peaceful time of my life,” Echols said. “I remember sitting in my great-grand aunt’s kitchen growing up and she had appliances, and back then, it was very popular to have these mint green appliances.”
What owner Aisha Echols aims to achieve with the business is reflected in the industrial furnishings that makes the store.
“It’s peaceful and cozy,” she said. “Just an escape from the hustle and bustle of the office, all while enjoying a simple moment with a cup of tea.”
While owning a storefront is a brand new concept for Echols, the business has been underway since 2010. Sweet Simpliciteas started as an online brand on Etsy.com during fall that year.
“I started blending my own teas at the end of 2009 and that was just for my personal use,” Echols said. “People started asking for them, and friends started wanting to give me money for it, and so I set up a small online shop.”
Being an entrepreneur to Echols means sharing her love for desserts and teas with other people.
“When I came up with the name for my business, I just realized how so many problems can be solved, so many business deals can be made, so many things can happen over a cup of tea,” Echols said. “That’s Sweet Simpliciteas.”
For more information, visit www.sweetsimpliciteas.com.
All photos by Nen Lin Soo.