News Release Archive

Entrepreneurship is the specialty of the day, everyday, at the
Post Road Tea Room.

The Mount Uniacke operation opened for its second summer in June
and is keeping its four teenage proprietors busy.

The idea originated from last year's Maritime studies class
project at Windsor Regional High School. Now, one year later,
Morgan Hicks, 15, and Mary Middleton, Michael Sponagle and Carrie
Donovan, all 16, are again partners in a thriving tea business.

It all started, Morgan said, with the Uniacke Estate Museum Park,
which is operated by the Nova Scotia Museum. Visitors could not
buy food on the park grounds, and that started them thinking.
Originally, they considered a vendor cart. But once they
discussed it further, the idea changed to a tea room.

"We got together and were talking about it and thought it would
be kind of a cool idea," said Morgan.

After presenting the idea to their classmates, the four teenagers
made a proposal to Nova Scotia Museum members. "I'm sure the
museum was pretty skeptical when we first approached them," says
Morgan. "I mean, I was 14 at the time and the others were 15."

But the museum people were impressed with the calibre of their
presentation, said Mary. "They said it had the quality of
fourth-year university students." The museum accepted their

The next step was to find funding. Their search led them to the
Youth Entrepreneurial Skills (YES) program. "I think we found out
about it on the Internet," recalled Morgan. "We also attended a
Youth Entrepreneurs Going Places Conference and they mentioned it

The YES program provides loans to full-time students wishing to
set up and operate their own business. It helps participants
prepare a business plan and provides business counselling and
training. Students apply to Economic Development and Tourism and,
if eligible, may receive a loan of up to $5,000.

The Post Road Tea Room qualified last year for a loan of $2,000,
enough to cover startup costs such as tables, chairs and teas.
The operators were given space in the kitchen area of Uniacke

This year, the tea room received the same amount and made some
improvements. "We got mugs and cups and cutlery and stuff like
that," said Morgan.

Added Mary: "Last year we had a lot of disposables so we had a
lot of garbage, and we learned that a lot of people don't like to
drink tea out of paper cups."

In addition to selling tea, the Post Road Tea Room also sells
retail merchandise from the Nova Scotia Museum on commission.
"Instead of paying rent, we sell their stuff," said Morgan. "We
missed out on June last year, but we still managed to make gross
profits of $13,000. Net profits we made about $4,000 because we
had to pay off the loan and other expenses."

One of the major benefits to starting your own business is that
it makes the job search much easier, said Mary. "It was good to
start early. Now we have something and we don't have to go out
and look for a job every summer."

In addition to employing themselves, they have hired another

"We learned a lot of business skills, how to deal with people,
and that if you want people to come to your business you have to
market it," Mary said about a YES training seminar held in
Wolfville last year.

To market the tea room, they held a number of bake sales and
advertised on a local gas station sign and in a local newsletter.
In addition, they conduct small promotions such as giving free
Freezies to children who attended the park's kite fly in June,
and at an event called Christmas in August.

"We have a few little contests to bring people in -- cute little
things that people might enjoy," said Morgan.

While making tea and sandwiches may take up most of her day,
Morgan said her experience with running the tea room has given
her greater confidence in dealing with money. "I learned a lot of
stuff about finances. Stuff I had no idea what it meant before,
but now I feel like I could talk to a banker and know what I'm
talking about."

And she said that as long as the museum will have them, the Post
Road Tea Room will continue to operate. "We have a five-year
contract with the museum. We can only run it for as long as we're
students; that was part of the deal. So we're going to have to
pass it on, later on."

The tea room expects a successful summer. With an average of 150
people passing through its doors every day, a banner year seems
predictable. So, if you have a craving for Wild Berry Zinger, I
Love Lemon, or even Earl Grey tea, you have until Oct. 13 to
quench your thirst.


Contact: Angela Campbell
         Economic Development and Tourism

NOTE TO EDITORS: Colour photos available upon request.

trp                    July 25, 1997 - 12:45 p.m.