Srina Tea House will bring fine teas, wellness and community to Akron’s Kenmore neighborhood

AKRON, Ohio – Srina Tea House founder Monaqui Porter Young, who was born and raised in Akron, didn’t know much about tea until she left the town of Rubber to pursue her dreams in the Big Apple.

It wasn’t until she was alone for the first time and without health insurance that Porter Young began to understand the importance of putting her health first. Soon after moving to New York City, Porter Young, a Wright State theater major, began to make the connection between what she ate and drank and how she felt.

Now Porter Young, 49, a Central Hower High School graduate who divides her time between New York City and Akron, plans to share her passion for wellness, high-quality teas, and bringing people together to foster greater sense of community with the opening in December of Srina Tea House in the Kenmore neighborhood of Akron.

“I am delighted to see the development taking place in Akron, but if we do not address health inequalities – the inability for people to access healthy food and health care, in particular for African Americans, we’re not going to have a small town where everyone is moving forward, ”Porter Young said.

Located at 975, boul. Kenmore. Opposite the Rialto Theater, the new Coffee & Tea Room will feature hand-harvested organic teas at Paradise Farm in Sri Lanka. Organic teas are grown without chemical fertilizers or synthetic pesticides, Porter Young said. The tea room and cafe will also offer coffees and healthy food selections prepared by Chef Akron Glenn Gillespie of Restaurant Edgar.

Although the brick and mortar tea house is new, Porter Young founded the Srina brand as an online retail and wholesale specialty tea supplier in 2002.

She has been planning to open a tea house for many years, but is now able to make her dream come true in part thanks to Akron City’s Rubber City Match program. Srina Tea House and Gypsy Grace & the Vintage Goat were the city’s first cash award recipients. Each received a $ 50,000 grant from the city and a business loan from local lending partners Western Reserve Community Fund and the Institute for Community and Economic Development. The Rubber City Match program also helped Porter Young find the right location.

“From day one of the Rubber City Match program, Monaqui Porter Young has shown a willingness and eagerness to commit to Akron,” said Heather Roszczyk, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advocate for the Integrated Development Office from the city. “She has an infectious enthusiasm that appeals to you, but she also has the business acumen to make her business a success.”

Although Porter Young was born in East Akron and then moved to West Akron as a teenager, she didn’t know Kenmore as well.

“The first time I was in Kenmore I knew this was the right place as it was revitalizing for me personally and professionally to bring wholeness, health and well-being to Akron,” he said. she declared.

Porter Young said she and her family have struggled to find healthy food and drink in the city.

“We also lack a place to go, to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea,” she said.

“Kenmore is a great opportunity for me to go to one of Akron’s underserved communities and create something that would create an opportunity for health and wellness and make it accessible to the people who live there, rather than having to leave your home. district. We spent the last year really on the ground getting to know Kenmore, to know Summit Lake, ”she said.

The 1,800 square foot space will offer more than just a place to eat and drink.

Srina Tea House is a retail and wellness place that offers Srina products, health workshops and special events, such as tea and food pairings, health and fitness classes, workshops and more. Another goal is to provide a place where older people can meet. Porter Young is also working with the Summit Lake Nature Center to create programs and activities such as yoga specifically for seniors.

The tea house and cafe will provide space for musical performances and events. The space also has indoor and outdoor seating at the front of the tea house and in a tea pavilion behind the building. Maximizing outdoor seating was important to Porter Young due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of seats for all indoor and outdoor spaces is 58.

“We were really lucky to have been able to bring in a great team and give us a design with the spirit of experience. Our goal is to bring customers in and educate themselves about tea and health, ”Porter Young said.

As its December opening date nears, Porter Young plans to hire 7-9 people.

“Srina Tea House will bring another gathering space to Kenmore Boulevard. It could be an after-school stopover, a place to relax during a quick tune-up on an instrument, or a pick-me-up before a concert at the Rialto. Monaqui has already done an incredible job reaching out to the community, so I have no doubt that Srina will become a neighborhood staple as soon as her doors open, ”said Roszczyk.

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