Storehouse Tea: A Social Enterprise Company

What is Storehouse Tea’s social impact and how do we achieve it:

Our vision for Storehouse Tea is to be an ethical and socially responsible company. Storehouse Tea Company is dedicated to supporting tea gardens that help conserve our fragile ecosystem by sustainable, organic farming practices. Organic farming prevents toxic chemicals from entering our atmosphere, our soil and water system, the very things that sustain life on earth. By definition, an organic tea must not contain any artificial ingredients and are grown by natural means without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Organic farming encourages healthy soils, clean water, and a vibrant and diverse environment.

Not only do organic tea gardens protect the environment, but they also guard the health and happiness of their families and valued employees. Often tea farmers have decided to switch to organic farming primarily for the health of their families because of the absence of toxic pesticides. We source only picking season fresh organic tea leaves shipped directly to us then hand blend the teas with the most flavorful, organic ingredients from around the world to create over fifty fresh tasting, healthy loose-leaf tea blends and whole leaf tea sachets.

Many of our customers have said to us that they also buy our teas because we support Fair Trade. They want to be sure that the teas they are enjoying are produced by people that are being paid a reasonable price for their teas. Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Storehouse Tea's suppliers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, guaranteeing to pay above market prices, though only pennies more for the consumer, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace. We try to purchase as much Fair Trade teas as possible, so that we can give back to these communities. The majority of tea pickers are women, as a female owner we are grateful to these beautiful, skillful and hard-working tea pickers for providing our company with amazing tea leaves and want to pay them fairly for the work they do. At Storehouse Tea we feel connected to these organic and Fair Trade Tea Gardens and Farms and their owners, some of which have even become our friends. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to putting out the most amazing organic tea and ingredients available while employing ethical and environmentally sound business practices.

From the very beginning, we wanted Storehouse Tea to be a company that would have a positive social impact at home and overseas. We believe that if you set out to do something good and right, the money will come! We saw a need for good and safe work among Cleveland’s growing refugee population. Between 2000 and 2016, nearly 5,000 refugees had arrived in Cuyahoga County, where Storehouse Tea is located. When seeking employment, refugees face additional challenges, such as language barriers, lack of transportation, and cultural differences. We work with the neighborhood community development office, community resettlement agencies as well as the local international High School around the corner from us to assist us in finding employees. One of the reasons we chose our current location was because our workers can walk or ride public transportation to get to us. Tea is an international business and we source ingredients from all around the world, it’s a beautiful connection and a business model that comes full circle, sometimes working with women from the very regions where our tea comes from. Our international production team assist us in blending, packing and labeling boxes, they are as diverse and lively as our teas. We hope to instill confidence and hope in our international team by mentoring them and giving them an opportunity to improve their English, gain job experience, make money to help support their families so that together we can strengthen and empower this community and this city. Storehouse Tea has also participated in community out reaches and fundraisers for the International High School where many of our employees come from. It is an honor to be connected to the growth and livelihood of our new neighbors and that’s what makes our business so much more meaningful to us and to our customers.