By Stephanie Tipple, Contributing Writer
The next time you’re looking to book a special themed children’s party for your daughter, or for your best friend’s baby shower, consider the TeaTime Tea Room in Gainesville. Owned and operated by Sharon Holm, the idea for the tea room came from Holm’s success with her own coffee shop. “We first started out in Gainesville as a coffee shop and we had a little tea room in the back of the shop, and then we started the ‘My Little Tea Party’ and that’s how the whole thing started,” Holm said.
With the consistent bookings and success from hosting tea parties, Holm decided to focus all of her efforts on the TeaTime Tea Room, which has been open for just over a year. While patrons can stop in for tea and scones during any of their open hours (Wednesday through Sunday), the bulk of the business comes from hosting parties for children and adults of all ages. “Our main business that we do is through our birthday parties and showers,” said Holm, adding that offering the children’s parties was a way to focus on youngsters in the community and providing them with a memorable experience.
The tea room currently offers three different birthday party packages for children. All of the tea parties are geared for children ages 5 and up–sometimes younger–and last between 90 minutes and two hours. Each of the children’s tea parties cost $250, which covers eight guests.
The ‘My Little Tea Party’ is modeled after an old-fashioned English tea party, where children are given a 15-minute session on proper etiquette for a tea party, including how to pour the tea and table manners. While children enjoy their tea and scones, they get to work on a craft project, which can range from jewelry making to painting. Then the staff presents the partygoers with a “cupcake tree.” If your daughter is a princess at heart, then the ‘My Little Princess Party’ is a definite option; all of the children get tiaras, wands and beaded necklaces with their tea and scones. And for those girls who love being pampered, there is the ‘My Fabulous Me Party’, which has a spa theme where guests get their hair and nails done.
But just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you have to feel left out. “We custom-make parties for people; we can do parties for any type of occasion,” Holm said. Their most popular adult parties are for bridal showers or baby showers and start at $15 per person, with the option for extra add-ons and special requests.
The TeaTime Tea Room offers an array of scones and other food items that you can select for a party, or even if you’re stopping in for a quick snack. For scones, they currently offer white chocolate chip, chocolate raspberry, cranberry orange and cinnamon, with plans to add more traditional English scones to the menu. You can also sink your teeth into one of their finger sandwiches–the most popular selections being the chicken salad or the cucumber. All of the teas are typically served with shortbread cookies or even chocolate-covered strawberries upon request. There are some exciting changes that the tea room is implementing for their tea service. “We are now in the process of having a signature tea made for TeaTime. It’s a loose leaf tea and a specially made tea for our tea room,” Holm said. If you are planning on hosting your own tea, or a party elsewhere, Holm noted that patrons can purchase food and baked goods in platters for off-site events.
If you’re interested to see what the tea room has to offer, consider stopping in for a cup of tea and a scone, or attending one of their themed events that they host periodically throughout the year. “We have special themed teas that we do for special occasions–we have our Valentine’s Day tea, our holiday tea, our Mother’s Day tea,” Holm said.
The TeaTime Tea Room is located at 7568 Gardner Park Drive in Gainesville.
Author Stephanie Tipple is a college student, journalist and community leader. She resides in Woodbridge. She can be reached by email at [email protected]