After Karen Sleger lost 140 pounds a few years ago, she knew working for Penzeys was no longer an option.
"Tea was a part of my lifestyle and I knew I couldn't be around all of the food anymore," Sleger said.
With five daughters — the youngest is 18 — Sleger wanted to try something new. Her love for tea and desire to open a business was the perfect combination. Sleger opened Fava Tea Company in Brookfield in February.
Located at The Plaza at Calhoun and Bluemound roads, the store features more than 300 kinds of tea, tea ware and infusers. The first franchise store for the Appleton-based company, Sleger said Fava Tea has something for everybody.
"It can be a bit overwhelming when you first walk in, but we take our time with each customer and show what we offer," Sleger said.
The loose leaf and fresh brewed menu offers a variety of black, oolong, green, white, herbal and rooibos teas that can be served iced or hot.
Among customer favorites are strawberry rhubarb, almond amaretto and green walnut. The Fat Elvis flavor is a banana-chocolate tribute to the king, and the lemon, grape and cherry rock sugar flavors give tea a twist.
Sleger offers nine random samples of hot and iced tea a day, and sippers can get a fresh-brewed glass to go or buy enough for an air pot.
Summer months are perfect for tea, Sleger said, and she plans to introduce a line of summer teas in September.
Open daily, the store sees a variety of customers, many of whom are business owners at The Plaza.
"They'll come in and get an air pot for their customers to sample," Sleger said.
Opening a business wasn't easy, but Sleger said it's been a rewarding experience.
"I'm OK with being a guinea pig," she said. "I'm good at identifying issues and concerns and making sure everything is right."
JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Fava Tea Company
ADDRESS: 17115-G W. Bluemound Road (located at The Plaza), Brookfield
PHONE: (262) 784-6750
OWNER: Karen Sleger
INCORPORATED: 2013 (first franchise location)
TYPE OF BUSINESS: specialty tea store
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