Pandemic slims margins for tea seller

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:33 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of miles for teas to get from the fields to your cup.

The coronavirus pandemic, along with natural disasters, have disrupted that supply chain and forced retailers to get creative.

During the stress of the pandemic, some have turned to tea as a way to stay healthy while at home.

“l didn’t end up the route that a lot of people took. I ended up working out more in quarantine than I normally do, so instead of going to the refrigerator for food, I was drinking tea instead,” said Annie McKenzie, customer.

However, Steep Me A Cup of Tea owners say getting McKenzie her tea and getting supplies to the store have been a challenge.

“There isn’t anything now that hasn’t been touched by it. Whether it’s just managing our tins or our the ability to seal things or keep things clean and sanitary, as well as the tea product that we brought in in order to blend into our teas,” said Terisina Hintz, co-owner.

After quarantine hit, wholesale prices went up another about 20 percent. Not only that, the store owners say they couldn’t find the canisters they sell the tea leaves in for two months.

“We had different shipping expenses, some of the containers that we use to protect our teas here for our customers, we couldn’t get a lot of those. We had to do a really efficient job of finding other options for our teas, our pickle brines, that sort of thing,” said Hintz.

Despite higher wholesale prices, Hintz says she’s dropped retail prices to keep the soothing beverage accessible.

“We’re lucky that we have this little gem in Bismarck,” said McKenzie.

Hintz says the store has seen an uptick in online sales from people who can’t or don’t want to come in.

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