We’re indie restaurateurs Doria Roberts and Calavino Donati and we’re hoping to get back on track with our family business!
OUR STORY (The Short Version)
We moved back home to Doria’s native New Jersey in December 2019 after 25 years in Atlanta (where we had restaurants for those 25 years) to help with Doria’s mother’s care after she had a stroke and a heart attack in April 2019. Doria was born and raised in Trenton and went to Princeton Day School and the University of Pennsylvania.
Our intention was to sell one of our restaurants and take our tea shop/tea retail concept with us to the area since there was little to no competition. We had a letter of intent on a space by November 2019 and were set to sign the lease and start building out in March 2020, which turned out to be one week before everything shut down.
Because of COVID, the sale fell through and we decided to hold off on signing the lease in New Jersey even though we thought it would be over in a few months.
After six months of no income and no end of lockdowns in sight, we used our insurance claim for some broken items from our move to open a vegan through omnivore BBQ pop up called The Pig + The Pit in July 2020 one town over to “wait it all out”. We were not eligible for PPP loans because our businesses were shut down and the new one was not open long enough. But, after a few successful months, we had enough money to open the retail only portion of the tea shop a few doors down to keep that brand viable.
Unfortunately, after six months and several challenges with the tea shop’s building (including repeated leaks that damaged merchandise, structural issues, and recent flooding from extreme weather, it was clear the serving tea was not going to be possible so we've decided to move and revisit our original plan.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW:
We are already moving out of our current space! Coincidentally, the space we originally wanted recently became available when the prospective renters had to back out after getting full approval for their cafe because of issues with a contractor. We have already been talking to the city about our own approval and the landlord is willing to forgo the usual financials to get us in there, but we need an extra “bump” to get us over the “hump”!
1. The space is move in ready (save painting the walls and light cleaning) for the retail portion. See pictures. We could be up and running by October 1 if we get this funded by week’s end and work on the cafe approval while operating and generating revenue.
2. The space has already been approved as a cafe for the former prospective renters so we are confident we will also get approval based on that and conversations with the city.
3. We already have the tax ID for the new entity and a bank account and simply need to get the business license, which we’ve also already talked to the city about.
4. We have already raised $40,000 from family and friends and are looking to raise another $40,000-50,000 to meet their requirements as well as have three months of operating costs to ensure the success of the business.
5. The space is in Princeton, NJ, which is a high end, high traffic college town. The university is requiring vaccines and masking and the vaccination rate for the area and county is ~70% so we are hopeful that local shutdowns will no longer be a threat.
6. We have had 14 months of exposure as business owners in the area in addition to our our 25 years in this business and have received positive press for our endeavors so we’re confident that we’ll be able to get the word out quickly about this move and operating.
We will be re-opening up our tea concept retail shop, Tipple + Rose, with over 140 loose teas and a cafe with light bites and a focus on our award winning high tea/afternoon service, which was ranked third in the country by Travel + Leisure in 2018 and number one in Atlanta by Eater. (Please go to www.TippleAndRose.com for other highlights and collaborations)
We are exploring options for eating club memberships that will help with operating costs and revenue streams outside of daily customer business and will have more room for fulfillment for our e-commerce business.
We are ready to move in and already ordered our fall/winter merchandise back in June that is due to be delivered Sept 23-Oct 1 with 60 day net terms once shipped, meaning we do not have to purchase or pay for any other merch.
We would like to capitalize on the fall/winter season as much as possible so we’re striving for full funding by week’s end.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly!
Thank you in advance for your contribution, support, and faith in us!
Doria + chef Calavino