Every few weeks Thame Hub will be featuring an article on various people in Thame who serve the Thame Community. This is your chance for the people of Thame to find out a little bit more about you or your business.
If you’d like to feature in these articles then drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our next instalment of the series we are talking to Greg Hassell, from Jollybrew Tea Co, to find out a little bit more about what they do.
For our readers who don’t know what Jollybrew is can you tell us a little bit more about what you do?
We’re a specialist loose leaf tea company. We import and blend all types of teas and carry around 50 varieties in-stock at present. We also stock a selection of tea bags, coffee and gifts.
Where can we find you?
We are located at 1 East Street, so right on the corner of East Street and the High Street. It’s about a 4 minute walk from the centre of town.
Now you’ve settled in, how is everything going?
It seems to be going well. We have had a really good response to the business and have already built up a number of regulars, which we are very grateful for. Being on the edge of town means there are many quiet moments through the day, but we were prepared for that.
How did Jollybrew start?
Jollybrew started in 2014 just after I was made redundant. My wife, Sarah, was on maternity leave at the time with our youngest who was just 5 months old when she was forced back to work. It was a tough time but we decided that I would became a stay at home Dad (and still am technically, hence why we are open shorter hours). I wanted something that I could build on the side while looking after the two children. I’ve always had a love for tea and after trying loose leaf for the first time a few years back I was convinced that this was the way forward. I did the research and found that it was on the move, but at the time there didn’t seem to be many British based companies around specialising in loose leaf, so I thought I’d give it a go. 3 years down the line and here we are.
Why did you choose Thame for your store?
I had no real plans to open a store right at this point to be honest, although it was in the future plans. We moved to Long Crendon in August of last year because we just love this area so much. I remember saying to my wife that I’d love to open a store in Thame eventually, but never did I think that a suitable place would come up for rent within our first year of being here. It was perfect timing though as we had outgrown our current space.
What’s Thame’s favourite tea?
We’re selling a real variety of blends – The people of Thame are quite adventurous. Our English Breakfast will always be the bestseller for obvious reasons, but after that London Calling (Earl Grey with Jasmine flowers), Jasmine Green Tea, Mango White Tea and Caramel Rooibos are right up there. We are also selling a lot of coffee, which I’m told most people don’t realise we sell.
What’s an average day at Jollybrew?
Every day is different. Most mornings I’m rushing around getting the kids off to school, followed by visits to the post office with the online orders / trade orders from the night before. First thing in the shop is usually quiet – it normally picks up after 12pm, but sadly we have to shut at 2.30pm so that I can do the school pick up, which doesn’t leave us a huge amount of time in the shop with our door open. Over time we hope to open the shop much longer hours.
For the people of Thame who haven’t visited you yet, why should they pop in?
I think we have a really good selection of tea. There’s pretty much something for everyone, especially as we have ground coffee and coffee beans too. We’re an independent family run company and everything we do is ethically sourced. All of our coffee is Fairtrade and our tea is from plantations that are either certified Fair Trade (international) or are part of the ETP (Ethical Tea Partnership). I love a good chat, so even if you’re not looking to buy anything, please do feel free to pop in.
What’s in store for Jollybrew in the future?
Well we hope to grow the business as much as possible I guess. Up until now it’s been just a sideline, but I’m now putting more time into the company than ever before. We’d like to grow our range, do more blending and serve more farm shops, Delis and coffee shops in the local area (and beyond).
What’s your favourite thing about Thame?
I love the buzz of Thame. Although it’s in the countryside it doesn’t feel like a sleepy little town. There is lots going on all the time and the locals are great. My eldest daughter is in school at Thame so I get to talk to a lot of people around the town. It’s just a great place to be and very grateful to the wonderful people of Thame for the support they have shown us so far.
Thanks to Greg for letting us interview him, for more information on Jollybrew of Thame you can visit their website at: https://www.jollybrew.co.uk/
Thanks also to Mark Hewitson for taking the photo for this featured article. For more information on Mark Hewitson photography, please visit his website at: www.markhewitson.co.uk
Read Mark’s behind the scenes blog in the “Portrait of Thame” series here.