Elz Tastes and Tea Market is a bit of a hidden jewel. The store’s unique offerings include olive oils, balsamic vinegars, bulk teas, spices and seasonings, flavored pastas, and soup mixes.
The owners, Kelly and Shelly, are sisters and bought the business from the original owners, Jan and Bill Coyle, about two and a half years ago.
Why call it Elz? As children, Kelly and Shelly’s nicknames became Kell and Shell. So to many of their friends, they are referred to as “the elz”. Hence the fresh new name, Elz Tastes & Tea Market.
The sisters divide their duties by product categories. Shelly is the olive oil and balsamics queen. Kelly keeps track of the teas and spice blends. Recent additions include tea pots, infusers, and gift items such as tea mugs and towels – with snarky messages.
When I asked Kelly what she enjoys most about having the store, she exclaimed, “I love coming to work every day. I love coming through the doors. I love the smell of the place. I am working harder than I have through most of my life. I love everything I do – except mopping the floors! I love our customers and our products.”
Elz offers gift baskets filled with their items in traditional wicker baskets. They also offer unique gift packs utilizing a large cooking item such as a grilling pan or a cedar plank as the base. For example, the sisters pair the grilling pan with balsamic barbecue sauce and different meat rubs inside the pan. These could be fantastic gifts for anyone who loves to cook.
The pandemic was challenging time for Kelly & Shelly. Since they sold what is considered essential items, they were allowed to stay open, but only at 25% capacity. In their case, only four shoppers were allowed in the store at a time. They also began offering curbside delivery and private shopping time before or after their regular hours – services they continue to provide now upon request.
One smart way the sisters promote their business is by sponsoring public events in their store. These include high teas, a seminar run by an herbalist, and even a cooking demonstration using some of their six curry blends. Most uniquely, the local library did a zoom class, during covid, called Spices Around The World, where kids could pick up a kit at the library with seven different spices plus an instant rice bowl and learn all about how to blend the spices.
When asking Kelly & Shelly what distinguishes their store from others in their industry. Shelly told me, “Besides our huge selection, we offer a lot of customization. For example, we have single spices and spice blends in our spice section. So if a customer has a spice blend recipe they want to try, we can make it up for them in small amounts. And with our teas, we hear, ‘I have this favorite tea, and I can’t find it anymore.’ So we’ll blend different teas for them and have them taste each blend until they’re satisfied.”
What does the future hold for Elz? Shelly & Kelly want to expand their online business next year, as they have only scratched the surface there.
Learn more about the delicious products Elz Tastes & Teas have to offer here. Stop by there store located at 328 N Sullivan Road, Suites 2 & 3
Spokane Valley, WA 99037