Melinda Thomas, Owner of the Clipper Merchant Tea House in Bridgton, Maine (https://www.clippermerchant.com/) knew she wanted to be in Maine and knew she wanted to own and operate her own tea house, but that is where the story just starts in 2015. She found a tea house in Limerick, Maine that was selling its name and business, but the search for a “home” for her business led her to look in Bridgton.
At first, she learned about the Augustus Perley House, but knew that this location, availability and property logistics would not fit her business. This led her to the historic William Perry House at 28-32 Main & Highland Street, which would be an ideal fit for her English-themed tea house. She opened her doors with a soft grand opening on June 25, 2016 for 80+ people and then a full opening on July 13th.
She provides wonderful English tea sandwiches, authentic scones, Cornish pasties, quiches and meat pies as well as many tried and true teas from all over the world. Her business occupies the first floor of the William Perry House where she has maintained the look and feel of an authentic English tea house in her menu, décor and furnishings. Here are recent photos from inside one of her dining rooms and her retail tea space.
Melinda reached out to the Oxford Hills SCORE organization for business advice on generating a business plan, working through the process of a business loan, her website challenges and a review of her tenant’s lease agreement. This effort helped her better understand the issues she needed to address to have a successful and thriving entity. SCORE made recommendations on who to contact for a loan which included Community Concepts in Norway, the ultimate loan provider.
Melinda was very pleased with the support she received and continues to maintain a strong relationship with SCORE for her future business plans and goals. She expressed her appreciation for SCORE’s “accessibility and responsiveness” to her needs, even before she had moved to Maine.