Thursday, August 14, 2014

Frederick Faces: Diana Ray

While many people enjoy sitting down to relax with a cup of tea, for some, tea is a passion. Diana Ray, owner of Shab Row Team Emporium (112 N. East Street), believes that “learning about tea is a never-ending endeavor. It encompasses history, geography, and culture. Not to mention the sensory experience!” Diana’s advanced training in tea has made her tea shop a huge success.

Originally from New Orleans, Diana started her journey in the business in a small tea shop in Austin, Texas in the summer of 2000. From there, she managed a coffee and tea shop in Norfolk, Virginia. When Diana moved to Frederick in 2012, she pursued her interest in coffee and tea through her job at Mike Winder’s Frederick Coffee Company. Diana and Mike decided to open Shab Row Tea Emporium as a complement to Frederick Coffee Company and Frederick Fudge and Ice Cream in the summer of 2013.

In the Tea Emporium, shoppers can browse for leaf tea, tea accessories, and brewed tea in a hands-on, homey environment. Diana’s friendly and accommodating staff help her share her passion for tea with their customers. “I love introducing people to tea they’ve never tried before. I would like to put on a series of educational workshops about tea,” says Diana.

In addition to teaching others about the specifics of tea, Diana loves talking to the locals that come through her store. She believes that Frederick is the ideal place for the tea shop and Mike’s other businesses. The constant foot traffic downtown brings a wide variety of people to the shop, providing Diana with one of the most enjoyable aspects of her job. “I love talking to people,” Diana raves, “We get folks from all walks of life here. I am inspired by people who make the community better: independent shop owners, writers, artists, farmers...”

Aside from her passion for tea, Diana loves experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, adventuring outdoors, and sitting down to watch some Star Trek, with a cup of tea in hand, of course. 

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