Tea and games store rises like a Phoenix

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, May 2, 2019
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Photo by Alastair Baker
Phoenix Pearl Tea general manager Gwen Gunn shows customers one of the teas on offer. The store has over 200 teas to choose from along with a huge selection of board games for demoing or buying.

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Phoenix Pearl Tea is reborn with more room, more teas and more tables for games.

The Red Lodge business has been closed for a month for renovations. 

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” said general manager Gwen Gunn. “We’ve been flooded. I expected it to be slow but we’ve been slammed since we reopened, everyone is stoked to have us back.”  

The renovations, mainly done by family members and customer volunteers who wanted to give back, has opened up the place so that it stretches further to the back of the building. The ceiling has also been freed up.

“I planned this from the beginning. When we first came here, Silver Run Vets had this and they had little exam rooms, and a surgery, an office, a front desk. We tore out the front desk and the utility counter off the bat, but couldn’t afford to do the rest and had to make it work,” said Gunn. 

But now her dream has come true.

“This is what I wanted it to look like from the beginning,” she said. 

What was a confusing area now makes more sense.

“Now it’s readily obvious what we are. The games are staring you in your face. There are tables all the way in the back and a check out right next to the main door.  People know where to go,” said Gunn. “It has an identity.” 

“We have way more seating which is super nice on game night. We have an 8 top table so people can break out the giant board games and do these monstrous 3-4 hour games,” she said.

Amid all this there is an impressive array of 200 plus teas along the wall behind the drinks bar.

“I’ve had 3 people tell me the wall is intimidating,” she said.

Another change is the color scheme with the walls painted in a leathery wood tone and the ceiling in an iron ore color.

“It looks like it was never painted,” said Gunn. 

“I’ve always liked the esthetic of the old tavern, the old medieval fantasy tavern. I’m a geek at heart. I play Dungeons and Dragons,” she said. 

To emphasize the atmosphere a number of weapons are affixed to the walls.

“We have our own weapons, an axe, a couple of swords. A bow and arrows from a regular,” said Gunn. “A peace pipe. A few other loans.”

There are also items from Red Raven and Glass Rabbit for sale.

The business caters for all ages and has “a startling  following of middle schoolers,” said Gunn.

“They trust the atmosphere. Their parents know where they are. On Thursdays they can come in on game night till 9 p.m. play games and drink tea and the parents know they are not out doing who knows what,” she said.

Besides the multitude of games for sale there are also demo games.

“People can come in, buy a drink and play a game. For teenagers who can’t afford it, we offer extra cheap options, black tea, green tea, lemon herbal for $2,” said Gunn.

In keeping with the times all outlets also have USB outlets to charge phones.

A kitchen is presently in development and will have the charcuterie board back again. 

Phoenix Pearl Tea is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. everyday except Thursday when it extends its hours for game night until 9 p.m.