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New West-based Great Wall Tea shop to open pop-up in Burnaby

The local tea shop is readying for a pop-up opening at Lougheed Mall this autumn.

New Westminster-based tea shop Great Wall Tea is preparing for a new adventure: a pop-up storefront at Lougheed Mall in Burnaby.

Opening the week of Sept. 26, the store will be located in the mall’s former David’s Tea spot.

Great Wall Tea, which opened in New West in 2010, serves a tea menu that is entirely sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free with no artificial flavours.

Connecting with a new community

The business’ co-owner and co-founder, Lauren Bowler, said the new space is an “exciting experiment.”

The 150-square foot shop at New West’s River Market has a bar-inspired setup, while Bowler called the Lougheed pop-up more of a traditional storefront.

The pop-up features the same iconic wall of tea tins as the River Market space.

“Seeing the wall for the first time sort of takes me a little bit back to 2010. Seeing that fresh, new, shiny wall again is pretty remarkable,” Bowler said.

Bowler said she’s looking forward to connecting with a new community at Lougheed, and also engaging with her current Burnaby-based customers.

“I think we will get people (at Lougheed) who already know us coming in,” she said. “And that would be kind of fun because we get to see how they respond and interact with this new space.”

River Market a ‘loyal community’

“What we found right away in New West, is that the community is a true, real, loyal community,” Bowler said.

“We loved the environments of public markets. We really love their community connections.”

That community connection is clear: while interviewing with the NOW, a woman approached Bowler with the inquisitive look of someone who hasn’t seen a friend in a long time.

It was Fiona Walsh, a Great Wall Tea customer since its first day open in New Westminster.

Walsh worked at the circus school at the River Market.

When she and her husband, tea drinkers, found Great Wall Tea at the market they were thrilled.

“We were like ‘Oh my God, this is the best thing to happen,’” Walsh said, laughing.

“I can’t start my day without cream Irish breakfast tea,” she said.

For Bowler, running Great Wall Tea is a gratifying experience. She describes the community around the shop as warm and welcoming.

“It’s just about wanting to be that space for people and for ourselves.”