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Old 08-23-2011, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Colorado
486 posts, read 1,235,127 times
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There is a tea house in Canon City that has been going strong for a few years now. People come from all over to visit the Queen Anne Tea House Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, Canon City Colorado- The Canon City Queen Anne-719-275-5354

The owner/operators also do cooking classes to supplement, and they seem to do quite well. Canon City lends itself to such a business because of the large historic district and tourists who come through on hwy 50. [I have to say that the host, Linda, makes the best scones I have EVER tasted!]

I read down that list of tea rooms NW Crow posted and noticed there were no listings for Salida, Leadville or Buena Vista (all in the upper Arkansas Valley and all have a lot of tourist traffic). I also think that Pagosa Springs would make a nice setting for a tea house.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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There were also no listings shown for Fruita, Craig, Breckenridge, Eagle, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Copper Mtn, Dillon, Frisco Vail and Telluride. There may be others I missed on first or second pass but I at least wanted to start naming possibilities to show that the lists could be used for that purpose. Again, I don't know how comprehensive the lists actually are. They could be missing some or a lot.

Some of these places may not be affordable but not knowing where the line for that gets drawn I decided to name a big list. It can then get chopped down various ways. In some cases it might be possible to live cheaper outside town but you wouldn't want to be too far from the business.

Last edited by NW Crow; 08-23-2011 at 09:22 PM..
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:10 PM
 
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Wink Off the beaten track to the door

Seems like some good suggestions here regarding locations and tea rooms in general as a business.

A possible location I'll add is Crestone. No danger of traffic or fast food restaurants there. Not much in the way of regular tourists, either. Situated at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the north San Luis Valley, it is a good definition of out of the way. All of which would not add up to much in the way of business prospects, save Crestone is also fairly unique in being the chosen home of a number of small religious orders. An order of Christian monks, as well as Buddhists, etc. are in residence. These various orders may be rather insular, but are visited by the outside world, who may also venture nearby into town for the very few options in restaurants, etc. There is already a small coffee house c*m restaurant in the center of town, which is a focal point for locals. A good question of what the market could support there, which would bear some serious on ground investigation if interested. Real estate prices, too, may not prove much of a bargain. But if the practicalities of survival worked out it would be a tranquil and lovely place for such a business.

On the far side of the mountains from Crestone would be Westcliffe. That would be an interesting proposition, as would La Veta farther to the south. Although in one measure or another they will have the same business realities. It could be you'll need to consider a slightly larger market and town for an adequate annual revenue. As mentioned, Durango could be one such possibility. The town itself has a population of about 16,000, falling at the higher end of your preferred size. There will be some fast food restaurants, as well as plenty of traffic in certain areas, but the right location could seem serene and lovely enough. There is a lot of tourism traffic in the summer, but also transient skiers in winter. That combined with the largest population in southwest Colorado could add up to sufficient trade. As evidenced by at least one other competitor already there, but this indication that such a thing possible.

Tea rooms basically fall under the umbrella of the restaurant business, with its notoriously high failure rate in the first few years. So none of this will be easy, and all more given the present national economy. But some markets, such as Durango, and certainly an Aspen, will at least have plenty of money floating about, if it can be lured as bees to a flower. The smaller the market the more one may have to have sidelines in relation to tea. Then also, the higher rents could actually prove the best bargains if allowing the most viable locations, within town, and in the right town.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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If you're interested in mountain towns, you'll find more affordable mountain towns in western Colorado. Such towns as: Cedaredge, Paonia, or Collbran.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:29 PM
 
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From the long list of places named off that might not have existing business competition, I might best guess on these candidates:

Paonia, Salida / Buena Vista and Trinadad.

Last edited by NW Crow; 08-24-2011 at 11:55 PM..
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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What people don't seem to get is that when there isn't a certain business (like a tea room) in some small town, it is very likely because there is an insufficient customer base to make that business economically viable. A pretty simple rule of thumb is whatever take-home before-tax income you intend to make in a retail-type business, you need to have gross sales of at least ten times that. So, if you want an income of, say, $30K per year--which is just about a minimum to have any kind of material comfort in most Colorado small towns--then you have to gross $300K in the business--that is one hell of a lot of cups of tea. A failure of people to grasp that pretty simple math is why so many people go broke in "foo-foo" businesses in rural Colorado every year. The other issue in many Colorado towns is that businesses that cater to tourists often have to make nearly all of that gross income in 3-6 months per year, while their fixed expenses run year-round. So, when the casual tourist sees some trinket shop busy as hell in July, they make the mistaken assumption that the level of business they see is typical for the whole year, when--in fact--there may be numerous months where the owners sell practically nothing. The other downer for those business owners is that they are usually working 10-14 hours per day 7 days a week during the tourist season to maximize their gross income--that being during the time that is best for recreating in the place they live. So, the business owner's customers get to enjoy a great time goofing off in "paradise," but the business owner is working his or her a** off and doesn't have time to enjoy those amenities. That is the harsh reality of living and working in rural Colorado. Unlike most of the other posters on this forum who have never had to make a living in rural Colorado--the guys who don't have to rely on a local income and most who have never even lived in or tried to make a living in rural Colorado--I have. However beautiful rural Colorado may be, it's a damned hard place in which to make a living--and it is going to get a lot harder as we go forward. The "easy" days--such as they were in rural Colorado--are OVER.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Betwixt and Between
463 posts, read 942,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
From the long list of places named off that might not have existing business competition, I might best guess on these candidates:

Paonia, Salida / Buena Vista and Trinadad.
Buena Vista already has 2 coffee houses and they sell chai. If you're going to do this, make sure you research bankruptcy law.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Colorado
486 posts, read 1,235,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lugnuts View Post
Buena Vista already has 2 coffee houses and they sell chai. If you're going to do this, make sure you research bankruptcy law.
I think some posters on this thread do not "get" what a tea house actually is.

A Victorian tea room is not a coffee shop. Quite different in fact.

There is a specific following of people who will travel all over just to seek out tea houses. Usually women of a certain age - like the Red Hat ladies, for example. I often see seniors bus tours at the tea house here in Canon City.

Tea houses are rising in popularity possibly due to the boomer generation coming to retirement age.

Patrons of tea houses do not go for a quick java or chai in styrofoam cups. They go for earl grey and scones served on Victorian china in vintage homes.

Last edited by sesamekid; 08-25-2011 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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A victorian tea room possibly could fit in to Leadville with its historic victorians.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Colorado
486 posts, read 1,235,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post
A victorian tea room possibly could fit in to Leadville with its historic victorians.
Absolutely! That's the key element - location. The location has to be a Victorian era historic district/town in a lovely old restored house. That's the draw for the target market.

So look at some of the towns suggested above and you have some potential options. (Salida, Pagosa, Leadville, Cripple Creek). Looks like Durango & Georgetown already have tea houses.

A tea house is not a "shop" - it's an experience. And being the proprietor wouldn't be a get-rich-quick venture. It would be a true labor of love.
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