A mother and daughter sit for high tea and scones surrounded by beautiful Victorian décor. They haven’t traveled to England where high tea is a common practice, but instead, to the nearby city of Medina at Miss Molly’s Tea Room and Gift Shop.
Tea has become a growing trend, along with specialty tea shops. In fact, there are more than 4,000 specialty tea rooms and retail shops in big cities and small towns across the U.S., according a 2013 report from the Tea Association of the USA, which is an independent authority on the industry.
Miss Molly’s Tea Room has been in the community for more than 16 years, ever since owner Ed Wright stumbled across the business with the help of his wife.
“I ran a big corporation in Cleveland for a number of years, and after selling that to a German group, I started doing private equity with several firms,” Wright says. “(My wife) picked up on the fact that the gift shop might be for sale and asked me if I was interested in looking at it, so we took a look. “
The couple soon bought the shop, located on West Washington Street.
“We tried to create an environment to step out of the hustle and bustle of the crazy world we live in and, not so much step back in time, but to a degree,”he says. “All the décor is Victorian, and it feels warm when you walk in the door; our place is warm and welcoming.”
The Tea Room
Sitting down for tea and sandwiches in a tea room can give families a respite from our technology-filled world, allowing for relaxation and conversation.
“If you go back to how tea rooms started in England, it was originally an opportunity for the ladies to go somewhere without their husbands; a reputable place to go,” Wright says. The Miss Molly’s staff even dresses in clothing that lends itself to the Victorian tea room feel.
“It’s a great environment to bring friends or family or children and relax,” Wright says. “What we do is all about trying to pamper you, so you can come in and feel special.”
The tea options range from black, green, oolong and beyond, as well as gourmet coffee specially blended for the restaurant. While the emphasis may be on tea, Miss Molly’s has a food menu with dishes such as chicken divan, homemade soup and quiche that is made fresh each day. The children’s menu includes heart-shaped double-decker peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches and baked macaroni and cheese.
The staff at Miss Molly’s also takes allergy concerns into mind. Wright says, “We do a lot of vegetarian items, and we focus on trying to relate to vegan customers. If they call ahead, we can do anything. Gluten-free, soy, peanut allergies — we can always prepare a special meal.”
Attached to the tea room and event rooms is a gift shop that stocks fine china, greeting cards, paintings, jewelry and books.
Adding a Business in the City
Across the way from Miss Molly’s Tea Room & Gift Shop is another business owned by Wright, called Medina Funtastic Toyz. Filled with specialty toys, this is not your ordinary toy store. Wright commented, “We try to find things that the mass marketers and big box guys don’t buy or don’t offer.”
The store, which just opened last June, hosts as many kid-oriented events as possible.