Tea Leaves Say Tea By Two is OnDeck Small Business of the Month
Tea By Two, a tea room in Bel Air, Maryland is its Small Business of the Month for May 2019. Owned by longtime friends, Erin Bradley and Janet Meyers, Tea By Two is the first small business in Maryland to receive the OnDeck Award.
Erin and Janet had long enjoyed an afternoon tea break as they worked together at a local insurance company near Bel Air. The traditional light meal with tea between lunch and dinner always rejuvenated the friends who found the time to be a welcome respite from the busy workday. After a few years, they began recruiting friends and family to join them and their afternoon teas became a beloved tradition in the Bel Air, Maryland community. Soon, Erin and Janet began to think seriously about turning their passion for afternoon tea into a business.
“The first six months were a mix of excitement, anxiety and exhaustion as we got Tea By Two off the ground,” said Erin. “As first time entrepreneurs, we had to learn so much on the fly. It seemed that Janet and I worked 24 hours a day, but we felt strongly that we were onto a unique concept that the local community would find as appealing as we did.”
In 2016, after many successful years in business, Erin and Janet found themselves in need of additional financing to purchase inventory and address new vendor payment changes.
“OnDeck was there for us when we needed financing quickly and that kind of solid relationship with a lender is vital to small business owners,” said Erin. “They are easy to work with, true to their word and our customer service experience has been tremendous.”
After 18 years of running the business largely by themselves, Erin and Janet just hired their first full-time employee. They have plans to grow Tea By Two, including enhancing the online shopping experience and hosting more onsite events. A big bet made by two tea lovers at a small cottage years ago has turned into a thriving and thrilling business adventure for Erin Bradley and Janet Meyers.