Cheryl Graham: Saturday Market’s her cup of tea

Tofino Tea Bar goes mobile Saturday mornings, when Cheryl Graham walks across the street with leaves and fresh water in hand to Tofino Public Market.

One of a small handful of refreshment vendors, she welcomed the chance to take her business to the masses at one of two popular West Coast weekend markets.

“As long as you make it, bake it or grow it yourself, you can be here – and the shop is busy not as much when the market is happening,” Graham said.

She likes the market ambience, the casual patron blend of visitors and locals and working with her fellow market vendors.

“It’s a really nice mix of people, there’s energy and there’s always good music. The visitors are happy, they’re on holidays and they’re interested in local small business,” she said.

White, green, black, pu-erh, oolong, yerba mate – the list goes on. With 60 blends of loose tea in her little nest of a store perched on the back lane of Main Street , her business is in the downtown core.

She has several varieties of ice tea on tap – as well as smoothies, tea delicacies and tea-related gift items like cozies and pots – tea really is Cheryl Graham’s entrepreneurial cup of tea.

She also offers tea events and education options to the public, hospitality industry and corporate/private retreats, like an afternoon tea excursion on Clayoquot Sound.

In April, Graham and Ucluelet’s Thay Tea owner Sharryn Modder pulled off the West Coast’s first-ever tea festival – and another is planned in 2015.

“We have lots of new ideas for things to happen here,” Graham said with a smile.

Tofino Public Market runs summer Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Village Green.

Friday Night Ukee Market runs Fridays from 3-7 p.m. on the Ucluelet Village Green.