Visitors to the State Farmers Market can now have a cup of tea and sit a spell or even have a full, formal tea party in The Market Tea Room and Country Store which opened there March 25.
The new shop is owned by Jennifer Gerdes who started selling tea and handcrafted candles and other artisan goods when she started her own business, J. Cottage Industries, four years ago.
A retired engineer, Gerdes was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease several years ago and found relief from her symptoms with natural teas. Soon, she was asked by friends and family members to find natural teas for them, as well.
"I found I had a knack for it and I became known as 'the tea lady,'" Gerdes said.
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Gerdes initially sold teas and her handmade goods at 302 Artisans--a shop featuring a variety of local artisans located at Senate's End and owned by Dupre Percival. Three years ago, Percival--who also owns and operates Dupre Catering and Events--took over the State Farmers Market restaurant, Judy's at the Market, and renamed it Dupre at the Market. Recently, Percival acquired additional space leading into his restaurant and decided to invite Gerdes to open a tea room there, along with a country store that features Percival's favorite certified SC products such as locally made jams and barbecue sauces and home goods and gifts such as Gerdes' candles.
"It's a space that is really all about honoring what's made right here in South Carolina," Percival said. "It's really about hospitality and Jennifer's tea room is the icing on the cake. It's a place for people to sit, talk and just enjoy being together."
Tea in the tea room can be accompanied by a choice of crumpets with jam, scones, tea sandwiches and seasonal fruits and sweets. The Market Tea Room can accommodate parties up to 20 for a full tea party and up to 50 in the Market's expo room. Those wishing to schedule a tea party may do so by emailing Gerdes directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Market Tea Room and Country Store is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dupre at the Market is open daily 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both are located at 322 Little Brooke Ln. at the State Farmers Market off Charleston Highway in West Columbia.