Oregon-based Brew Dr. Tea Company, formerly known as Townshends, will be closing all their tea houses by the end of October.
Founder Matt Thomas began Brew Dr. during his time at the University of Oregon. He opened the first tea house in NE Portland in 2003 and has since opened tea houses in multiple states and created Brew Dr. Kombucha.
Thomas says the decision to close was clear financially, but difficult emotionally.
“There’s so many stories. From people who went on first dates there and then got married to harder stories. People who dealt with moments of grief by meeting with counselors at the teahouses,” said Thomas. “And that’s really the hardest - taking these spaces out of the communities they’re in that have an emotional memory tied to them for so many people.”
Making a profit was already a challenge, but pandemic restrictions made the slow nature of tea and in-person experience of tea houses impossible.
Eugene and Portland locations will close October 18th. Bend will close on the 30th. Website purchases will be available while supplies last - likely ending in November or December.
Thomas hopes to open another teahouse after the pandemic. In the meantime, he will be busy with Brew Dr. Kombucha.