PHOENIX — "2020 was going to be the year for us"
"We planted so many seeds. Like you said, we had four stores opening — or opened — and we were in the process of opening two more. And so we were really on the up and up and it was a really fast-going train and then we just kind of came to a complete halt," said Allison DeVane, owner and founder of Teaspressa, a Phoenix-based tea company that sells teas, flavored sugar cubes, and flavored elixirs.
Like many businesses, DeVane had to make some tough decisions throughout the pandemic in order to keep her business afloat, including closing all four of her tea cafes and shifting the focus back to online sales and wholesale.
"They're like my little babies (the stores) so to see those go, and the employees who counted on me so much go, was...really heartbreaking," she said. "I think that was the hardest part honestly is just letting the people down. It was scary," she said.
And it took some time to heal, she said, but in the months since, focus has shifted back to online and wholesale, which is where Teaspressa began years ago and has maintained a large part of the business, DeVane said.
In fact, she said with holiday sales and the increase in online sales, the year ended with double the sales than the year before, something that historically has happened since the businesses has steadily grown.
"Our company now, our employees now, me personally, I feel like have been more focused than ever. We have a clear path for us. We're meticulously planning things, everything has more thought to it; not that it didn't before, but now its, especially after corona, we've learned to be a lot more intentional and just taking steps carefully and ensuring that every single step that we take or every single new opportunity is in fact with our core values and part of our vision," she said.
"Looking back now, I think we're stronger than ever. I think we went a long way as a team. I went a long way as a person and we're doing -- now we're doing great."
Back in 2016, DeVane pitched her business to ABC's Shark Tank and made the show, but was unable to secure a deal with the sharks.
The mission of We're Open, Arizona is to spotlight the businesses, restaurants, and organizations in the state and how they're coping with the pandemic. Send your suggestions to OpeninAZ@abc15.com.