Sat04192014

Business & Real Estate

Victorian tearoom headed for Main Street : Lisa’s Tea Treasures relocating downtown


Photo By: Diego Abeloos/
Lisa’s Tea Treasures owner Thao Nguyen is relocating the business to Main Street in late July. The Victorian tearoom carries an assortment of teas and hosts numerous private events. Town Crier

For those seeking a traditional Victorian tearoom experience, help is on the way.

The husband-and-wife duo of Thao Nguyen and Tim Pham are relocating Lisa’s Tea Treasures, currently in Menlo Park, to 167 Main St. later this summer. The couple, who also own the tearoom Tea Time in Palo Alto, are slated to occupy the former home of Art-n-Fun in late July.

Nguyen said the decision to relocate came down to a couple of key factors – including being located in an area with more feet on the street.

“I always wanted to be located in a downtown area,” said Nguyen, who also noted that several regular customers hail from Los Altos. “I’m very excited. Los Altos is the perfect setting. I think we will fit very well into the ambience of Los Altos, its customer profile and its culture.”

Nguyen said she will continue to offer the same services since her family purchased the business in 2009, including a limited afternoon tea menu that – naturally – includes an assortment of brewed teas, salads, soups and tea sandwiches, as well as savories and desserts such as pastries and scones. On the retail side, Nguyen’s gift parlor offers several lines of premium tea accessories.

Nguyen added that private bookings for bridal and baby showers, birthday parties and corporate events constitute more than 50 percent of her business.

“We’re very unique because we have a traditional Victorian ambience,” said Nguyen, who also offers tea parties for children, which include lessons in tea etiquette. “People tell me all the time that it’s like stepping into a different time period. … It’s more about the experience – coming in and experiencing the tradition of afternoon tea.”

Nguyen said her current role owning and operating Lisa’s Tea Treasures also fulfills a longtime personal goal. In 2005, Nguyen said she grew tired of the hustle and bustle of working as an international marketing manager for Mentos in Holland and decided to move her family closer to Pham’s parents in San Jose.

“Since high school, I dreamed of starting my own business,” said Nguyen, who originally sought to open her own European cafe. “So we both resigned from our jobs, sold our house, packed our luggage and moved to California.”

While her husband initially went to work helping his parents run a handful of small, family-owned businesses, Nguyen wasted little time pursuing her goal, creating a business plan and engaging the services of a local commercial real estate broker. Soon after, she “fell in love” with Palo Alto and eventually established Tea Time – located at 542 Ramona St. – in 2006.

Three years later, the couple purchased Lisa’s Tea Treasures and hasn’t looked back. Nguyen added that while she has future ambitions “to go wider and open more locations,” for now, she’s simply looking forward to debuting Lisa’s Tea Treasures’ new location on Main Street.

“I’m just so happy I found this location,” she concluded. “The space, the town – it’s perfect.”

For more information, visit www.lisasteamenlo.com.

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