LITTLE SHOP OF … TEA? Black Kettle Tea and Bootique Opens
new tea and retail store will swing open its door for the first time Nov. 19
Downtown Eau Claire is gaining a new small biz, and this one’s got a spooky flair folks will love. The Black Kettle Tea and Bootique (get it?) is set for its grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 217 N. Barstow St.
Local Brianna Vodvarka first dove into the tea-making world a handful of years ago to support her mental health, and in 2021, she had her first pop-up shop and began participating in events with her homemade tea blends in tow. From pop-ups at Menomonie’s Brewery Nonic and farmers markets to Eau Claire’s Broom & Crow shop being one of the very first to stock Black Kettle Tea, to frequent pop-ups at Passion Board Shop, Black Kettle has had quite the journey.
Almost exactly one year ago when Volume One first told Vodvarka’s story with Black Kettle Tea, she spoke about ultimately hoping to open her own tea room. Now, she’s making that dream a reality.
I wanted the store to be a space where I would want to hang out or people like me would. I didn’t want to be like every other tea shop.
I wanted something more me. I’ve been a huge fan of horror movies and stuff my entire life, so I combined the two into one.
owner of black kettle tea and bootique
“I wanted the store to be a space where I would want to hang out or people like me would,” Vodvarka explained. “I didn’t want to be like every other tea shop; I wanted something more me. I’ve been a huge fan of horror movies and stuff my entire life, so I combined the two into one.”
After a Black Kettle Tea event at Eau Claire’s Passion Board Shop this fall, Vodvarka and her mother were walking downtown and saw a vacant storefront. Vodvarka called to see if the spot was available, and after finding out it was, things began to move fast – she decided to take the brick-and-mortar leap.
Most recently the home of Good and Sturdy Vintage, the Barstow location has had one heck of a makeover. With newly painted black floors, silver and black walls and ceiling, and a vertical-striped detail wall, the bones of the Bootique align with the vibe Vodvarka had hoped to create. The space will be filled with Black Kettle Tea products as well as an array of local art, jewelry, tarot decks, and more that’s kept on shelves, walls, and racks inside the store.
Thanks to a mixture of reaching out to companies that she personally adores – like Lively Ghosts and their tea accessories – and working with local artists, the stock at the new store will make for a delightfully bewitching shopping and tea-sipping spot.
Vodvarka said the Eau Claire Makers Market, another relatively new addition to the Chippewa Valley’s artist network, was able to help get her in touch with more than 15 area artists to chat about putting their work in the shop. Not only do the additions of local art for sale enrich the Bootique, but they also provide a full-circle moment for Vodvarka herself as a creative.
“It’s exciting too because a lot of artists that (have their work) in here now have never been in a shop before, and now they get a space for their work to be sold,” she said. “For me, that was The Broom & Crow because they kind of got me and Black Kettle Tea off the ground, so it’s cool to do that for other people.”
Black Kettle Tea is still sold at The Broom & Crow and various additional locations, and folks can now purchase cups of tea in-store in downtown E.C.
However, Vodvarka said, some things did not go completely according to plan, like her hope to have a create-your-own blend station in the space for opening day. She still needs a three-compartment sink installed among other things done to bring the station to life, but it’s in the cards for the future, she said.
Black Kettle Tea and Bootique will also be hosting horror movies each month, Vodvarka shared. Ultimately, the basement of the store – which she is working on remodeling – will be equipped for movie screenings, but for now, she’s hoping to host screenings on the first Thursday of each month on the main level.
Don’t miss the opening of downtown Eau Claire’s latest addition – and arguably its most spine-chilling one – on Saturday, Nov. 19. For every $20 spent on opening day, customers will receive an entry to win a beanie and full-sized bag of “It’s Fall Y’all” tea blend. Customers will also receive a free cup of hot tea with any purchase. The first full week of business, folks can take a photo of the lounge area’s wall and post it to their socials, tagging the store, to get 10% off their purchase, too.
Black Kettle Tea and Boutique will be open Tuesday-Friday from 11am-6pm and on weekends from 10am-6pm. It will be closed on Mondays.