POMEROY — Pomeroy will soon be seeing a new business officially open in the downtown area.
David Hooker and Maureen Burns-Hooker are now owners of what is known in Pomeroy as the old Seylor Building. The couple own Herbal Sage Tea Company and after years at a business incubator in Athens, the couple want to bring their business back to Pomeroy. Burns-Hooker said she originally began blending in 1996.
In 2003, she moved the business to ACEnet in Athens while she got degree in public health. By 2009, Burns-Hooker said she was beginning to think about moving the business back to the country. Before they acquired the downtown building, the couple were thinking of purchasing more land in Rutland to continue operations. They even designed a new building for operations.
“We were at a point where we said, ‘Let’s just take a break from figuring out what we’re going to do,’” Burns-Hooker said.
Then, Jennifer Sheets, a friend of the couple, mentioned the building, and although the couple hadn’t thought about restoration, they took a look, And after two months of due diligence the building was theirs. Burns-Hooker said that the due diligence and surveillance of the building was all thanks to Paul Reed and Farmers Bank next door, who let the couple in for inspections, and Mayor Jackie Welker for his assistance.
After surveillance, she said the building “definitely needs restoration,” but that its historical significance is still obvious.
“When we think about it, we think what a beautiful town Pomeroy is, and that this is a historical building,” Burns-Hooker said. “If we wanted to do something that was going to be as environmental as we could, what’s better than restoring, keeping something?”
However, she also wanted to emphasize to residents that Herbal Sage Tea Company will not be a retail tea shop. Instead, the facility will mainly serve as a blending and packing place where orders can be filled. The front of the building on Butternut Avenue is set to look like an old-fashioned apothecary where tea blends can be displayed, and the rest of the first floor rooms are set to be opened up for classrooms or events.
“We don’t have the staff or the financial means to have the full-time retail store right now,” she said. “A lot of people think we’re opening a retail shop or a tea store, and that’s not our plans at this point. Our plans are to bring some economic development here by hiring some new employees to help us do what we’re doing and even get larger.”
The couple will continue to grow what herbs they can in Ohio and purchase other herbs from certified organic growers all over the world to create their teas. Burns-Hooker said she helps the business by creating formulas for new teas, as formulation is her background. She said the company also helps to create formulations for other companies, including Fur Peace Ranch and the creation of specific blends for Denison University in Ohio.
Burns-Hooker said she hopes to have Herbal Sage Tea Company moved into the building by April. And while she and her husband plan to live upstairs in the building, interns will be moving into her Rutland property to help continue the growth of herbs for the teas. Currently, independent contractors from throughout southeastern Ohio are working on the restoration of the building, and Burns-Hooker said she hopes to have her teas picked up by some of the local shops soon.
To purchase Herbal Sage tea visit herbalsage.com.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555 or on Twitter @JournalistKriz.