Making a Dream Come True
Since Chris Dotson was in high school, she has loved coffee and tea. “I remember a shop named The Coffee Bean in the Charleston Town Center Mall in the 90’s, and I thought that was the best store in the entire mall,” She says. “I always thought it would be wonderful to have a shop like that.”
When she started planning for The Collective through her work with the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, they needed folks to make business commitments to get the project off the ground, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make that dream come true. That’s how CC Coffee and Tea Interest came to be.
Be Your Own Barista
CC Coffee and Tea Interest carries a variety of whole bean and ground coffee, mushroom coffees, specialty k-cups, and coffee syrups. They also sell coffee making products, such as french press coffee makers, pour overs, coffee bean grinders, and moka pots. “For the tea fans, we have premium loose leaf teas, including black, green, herbal and oolong.” Chris says. “Specialty hot chocolates, turmeric drinks, wassail, cider, and other related products can also be purchased in my shop,” Chris says. Almost all their offerings are from small batch processors to ensure higher quality.
Basically, while they aren’t a full-service cafe, CC Coffee and Tea Interest sells “everything you need to be your own home barista.”
After deciding to dedicate herself to opening the shop, Chris found that it was on a fast track. “Being a part of The Collective meant being ready to open on a set deadline,” She says. “So once the decision was made to open my shop, I applied for state and city business licenses, signed the vendor lease agreement with the TVCC, began planning my inventory, researched and ordered products, purchased shelving, and I was on my way!”
Support from Small Business Friends
She feels lucky to know so many people in the area who own their own small businesses. “That was a great help, since I had trustworthy people to discuss business plans with,” Chris says. She enjoys the retail world, despite not having worked in it for some time. “Being able to come back to retail as a small business owner is so much fun!” She enjoys planning inventory and researching products, and loves getting to share her love of coffee and tea with others in the community. “Although I’m not in the shops daily, when I am there, it’s nice to meet new people and talk with old friends while they shop.”
Chris is excited about the opportunity that the Collective represents. “It is the perfect model for those who want to open a small business, but cannot immediately afford their own space, or who can’t quit a full-time job to run the business on a daily basis.” With the Collective, Chris is responsible for everything related to the business itself, but the TVCC provides employment opportunities for the clerks and assistant shoppers.
She is also excited about what the Collective represents to the community of business owners, and fans of local shopping. “It provides much needed additional retail, as well as serves as a business incubator for those wanting to start a business,” The goals of the Collective fit perfectly with the “let’s go to town” motto, which promotes the idea of Williamson as a hub for shopping, eating, and supporting the local. “Bringing back our downtown life is important to me, as well as to the other shop owners. We share that as a common goal.”
When it comes to picking a favorite item she sells, Chris finds it tough. “On the coffee side of things, it would be Hill Tree Roastery's Whole Bean Brazil Coffee and the JT Cooper Firecracker Syrup as an occasional add in,” She says. “Typically I drink black coffee, but if I want something different the firecracker syrup has a bit of ghost pepper powder in it, so that makes a great spicy latte. On the tea side, the Plum Deluxe Gingerbread Chai Tea is my current fave. It's that time of year when gingerbread feels warm and cozy. “
Whether or not you’re a coffee person, a tea drinker, or you love nothing more than a cup of hot cocoa or cider, you are bound to find something you’ll love at CC Coffee and Tea Interest. Check them out on their Facebook page to keep up with them!