Rise of Home Cooking Means More Locations, Big Business for Spice & Tea Retailer
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Rise of Home Cooking Means More Locations, Big Business for Spice & Tea Retailer

Gourmet, Specialty Retailer Saw Lof-TEA Growth Online & In Stores

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Nov. 17, 2020 // PRNewswire // - Shutdowns, quarantines and sheltering in place has not paused any growth or development efforts for The Spice & Tea Exchange. Since March, the specialty retail franchise has successfully opened five new stores, signed a franchise agreement, and experienced impressive sales growth on its ecommerce website.

From humble beginnings as one small shop in St. Augustine in 2008, to today's more than 70 stores across the country, The Spice & Tea Exchange can lean on its twelve years of growth and experience to weather any storm. Franchisees and franchisor alike are eager to continue this growth momentum as the holiday season approaches and demand for high-quality spices, teas and kitchen accessories rises.

Demonstrating its commitment to growth, The Spice & Tea Exchange didn't halt its development efforts during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, Franchisees have opened locations in Charlotte and West Jefferson, NC, Myrtle Beach and Beaufort, SC and St. Petersburg, FL. Residents in these southeastern markets now have top tier seasonings, spices, teas, and much more available with friendly expertise. Because of the ongoing guidance and training the franchisor provided, each store was able to serve its community throughout sheltering in place with delivery, special hours, curbside pickup and more.

In response to the shift in retail, the franchisor helped support its franchisees during shutdowns with an increased percent of web purchases going back to local stores. In addition, a local pickup and delivery form was added to store web pages to assist with driving local revenue as stores were able to fulfill orders from behind closed doors.

This strategy deeply impacted franchisee's bottom lines as the brand saw spikes in ecommerce traffic in March, April, May and June. Following shutdowns, shops are experiencing positive in-store sales as consumers are pivoting back to in-person shopping. In fact, some shops have seen sales figures beat last year's numbers, and The Spice & Tea Exchange experienced one of its best Labor Day Weekend's sales to date. As they enter this crucial holiday season, The Spice & Tea Exchange will continue supporting its franchisees by increasing online commissions to local shops Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

The unmatched franchisee support has not gone unnoticed by prospective franchisees. Paul and Heidi Ricard, new owners of Beaufort, SC, signed their franchise agreement in the height of the shutdowns. After Paul retired from his job of 34 years, he realized instead of going to work again for someone else, now was a better time than any to jump into entrepreneurship. After some research, he and his wife Heidi realized The Spice & Tea Exchange provided them with the best chance of offering something unique to their community in Beaufort, SC while being backed by a well-led national brand.

"What stood out and ultimately helped us make our decision to open a franchise here in Beaufort was how much everyone at The Spice & Tea Exchange corporate office cared for their franchisees," said Heidi. "From the minute we walked in the door everyone was friendly, knowledgeable and happy to be there. Even in these uncertain times, they had a real pride for their work and a passion for making their franchisees successful."

Continued franchise growth is on the way, as Martin Amschler, executive vice president of franchise development and operations, is optimistic about the franchise pipeline. He notes, "We are ramping up our lead generation efforts through email marketing and social media in Q4, a pivotal time for retail. As is the case with the Ricards, many of our franchise owners are customers first, so we've been leveraging our customer database to find guests who are already passionate about the brand and looking to invest in their futures. We anticipate awarding five more franchise agreements by year's end."

The brand's growth and commitment to its franchisee's success was recently recognized by Entrepreneur when the reputable magazine named The Spice & Tea Exchange No. 5 on its list of top Retail Food Franchises. To build the list, Entrepreneur evaluates more than 150 data points in the areas of costs & fees, size & growth, franchisee support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Boding well for those looking into bringing a The Spice & Tea Exchange near them, the publication notes that food is one of the most durable franchise opportunities.

SOURCE The Spice & Tea Exchange



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