Make us your home page
Instagram

Patrons can 'feel good,' sip tea at downtown New Port Richey tea room

Kelly Hackman, 37, owns the White Heron Tea and Gifts in New Port Richey.

White Heron Tea Room and Gifts

Kelly Hackman, 37, owns the White Heron Tea and Gifts in New Port Richey.

NEW PORT RICHEY — The White Heron Tea Room and Gifts seats only 12.

It is tiny, admits owner Kelly Hackman. But that doesn't affect the goal Hackman has had for the "quaint, Florida-style gift shop and tea room" since she opened it last month.

"I want you to feel good when you leave," she said.

Hackman, 37, worked for the last two years as the executive director of Chasco Fiesta. She also has worked for the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce, as a marketing director for Greater New Port Richey Main Street and as a youth pastor at her church.

But she decided she wanted to start a business.

"Running Chasco was a great job, and I loved it," she said. But "when you're an executive director, you're running the whole show. I (decided) that if I was going to do that, I wanted to do it for myself."

First, she aimed to open a gift shop. But she wanted to add something to it. She got the idea for a tea room from her husband, who drove past one in Tampa.

He sent her a picture of it. Then, she visited.

"I fell in love," she said. "It was intimate, it was quiet, it was pretty."

So, she invited two friends and her mom to visit it with her. She told them to leave their cellphones in the car. What followed impressed her.

"We talked," she said, without disruptions.

"A conversation without interruptions is almost uncomfortable for people because they're not used to having an environment where they can unplug," she said. "A (tea room) gives you the opportunity to do that."

So, she opened one, with the gift shop.

The shop carries loose-leaf teas, plus tea accessories, Florida salt scrubs and sea-inspired jewelry.

The tea room serves the loose-leaf teas and sandwiches — traditional cucumber, plus chicken salad or turkey, and other options, like tomato and bacon with basil aioli — plus scones and small desserts.

But the experience the tea room can facilitate is what excites Hackman most.

"You can really focus on the person you're with; you can focus on the conversation," she said. "It's a lost art."

>>fast facts

The White Heron

The White Heron Tea Room and Gifts is at 6228 Grand Blvd. in downtown New Port Richey. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tea is served at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Reservations are recommended. Call (727) 203-3504 or visit thewhiteheronfl.com.

Patrons can 'feel good,' sip tea at downtown New Port Richey tea room 01/13/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 7:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]