Storehouse Tea, Northeast Ohio’s premier hand-crafter of 50 high quality, fresh, organic and fair trade loose leaf teas and new line of organic, whole leaf Tea Sachets can be found at many healthy grocery stores, coffee/tea houses, restaurants and cafes. Our packaging team includes members of the local refugee community. In every aspect of our business, we strive to attain our goals of quality products and socially ethical business practices. We are honored to nourish you, your family and customers one delicious and healthy sip at a time.
Tell us about your artisans.
From the very beginning, we wanted Storehouse Tea to be a company that would have a positive social impact at home and overseas. We believe that if you set out to do something good and right, the money will come! We saw a need for good and safe work among Cleveland’s growing refugee population. Between 2000 and 2016, nearly 5,000 refugees had arrived in Cuyahoga County, where Storehouse Tea is located. When seeking employment, refugees face additional challenges, such as language barriers, lack of transportation, and cultural differences. We work with the neighborhood community development office, community resettlement agencies as well as the local international High School around the corner from us to assist us in finding employees. One of the reasons we chose our current location was because our workers can walk or ride public transportation to get to us. Tea is an international business and we source ingredients from all around the world, it’s a beautiful connection and a business model that comes full circle, sometimes working with women from the very regions where our tea comes from. Our international production team assist us in blending, packing and labeling boxes, they are as diverse and lively as our teas. We hope to instill confidence and hope in our international team by mentoring them and giving them an opportunity to improve their English, gain job experience, make money to help support their families so that together we can strengthen and empower this community and this city. Storehouse Tea has also participated in community out reaches and fundraisers for the International High School where many of our employees come from. It is an honor to be connected to the growth and livelihood of our new neighbors and that’s what makes our business so much more meaningful to us and to our customers.
How is fair trade changing the life of your artisans?
Many of our customers have said to us that they buy our teas because we support Fair Trade. They want to be sure that the teas they are enjoying are produced by people that are being paid a reasonable price for their teas. Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Storehouse Tea’s suppliers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, guaranteeing to pay above market prices, though only pennies more for the consumer, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace. We try to purchase as much Fair Trade teas as possible, so that we can give back to these communities. The majority of tea pickers are women, as a female owner we are grateful to these beautiful, skillful and hard-working tea pickers for providing our company with amazing tea leaves and want to pay them fairly for the work they do. At Storehouse Tea we feel connected to these organic and Fair Trade Tea Gardens and Farms and their owners, some of which have even become our friends. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to putting out the most amazing organic and Fair Trade tea.
Get to know Paula!
What inspired you to social justice and/or the fair trade movement?
I was 45 when I started Storehouse Tea, my kids were pretty much self sufficient, and I had a good sense of my gifts and talents in those life living years. I also realized at that point in my life I needed to get healthier, so I gave up coffee and started drinking tea I became a fanatic which inspired me to create Storehouse Tea. I knew that this business would be different because of my 2 passions in life, health and people. I wanted to create a product that was extremely good for you and a business that had a deeper meaning and purpose. Organic and Fair Trade were the two certifications we received before we started blending our own teas. I am committed to purchasing Fair Trade because most of the tea pickers are females and I wanted them to be paid fairly for their work and treated fairly. When it came time to hire employees I felt a strong connection and purpose to hire people who really needed the work. I found these people through the refugee resettlement groups and Thomas Jefferson International academy right around the corner from our production facility in the Clark Fulton neighborhood of Cleveland. These young people needed compassion, mentoring and help, as a mother of 3 it was very natural for me to connect to these beautiful hard working refugees who were brand new to Cleveland and this part of the world. By simply giving them encouragement and love I have seen them thrive in their new life here. This is the most meaningful part to Storehouse Tea.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth?
We will bring 25 -30 of our top selling Organic Fair Trade teas to the Fair Trade Expo as well as a private label brand of teas that help a safe house and school in Northern Iraq.
Do you have any upcoming events you would like us to promote?
Our Production Facility will be open to the public Thanksgiving Weekend, November 30th and December 1st from 10 am. – 5 pm. The Hildebrandt Building 3619 Walton Ave. Suite 101, Cleveland, Ohio 44113