News - McHenry County

New tea shop coming to Huntley hopes create ‘destination for tea-lovers everywhere’

To help with opening, the owners are looking to raise $40,000

Joe and LaShanda Lewis are opening a new tea shop in downtown Huntley later this year in 2022 after operating the business from their home and farmers' markets since 2020.

A space for tea lovers could be coming to downtown Huntley by the end of the year, which the owners say will fill a gap in what is available in the area.

The Irie Cup aims to create “the ultimate tea-lover’s café” in its new shop at 11805 Main St., which used to house Street Slice Pizza. The owners, husband and wife Joe and LaShanda Lewis, hope to add to what is offered in the downtown area currently and fill what they see is a gap in those services, according to a news release.

“Huntley has a booming downtown scene,” LaShanda Lewis said in the release. “There are a plethora of great treat options, ... but there isn’t a space where you can sit, slow down, and savor a cup of exceptional tea.”

To help with the opening, the business is raising money through a fundraiser on IFundWomen, which supports women- and Black-owned businesses, are looking for contributions to redo their location’s interior, according to the release. So far, in its first roughly six weeks, it has raised a little more than $3,000, with a goal of $40,000 by Nov. 18, according to the fundraiser’s page.

Some of the work that needs to be done includes tearing down a wall, redoing floors, painting and installing a new bar, LaShanda said Monday.

“People have been pretty generous,” she said. “We’re happy with where it is, but we could raise a bit more for all the work that needs to be done.”

The Irie Cup originally launched in 2020 and has built a following through farmers markets in the area and online sales, the release states. The new site in Huntley will be the business’s first physical shop.

The couple never expected to open up their own shop for tea, LaShanda said. They found themselves drinking more tea than normal during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to boost their immune system. Looking around, they found that there weren’t many tea options in the area.

“We’re a specialty shop,” Joe Lewis said in the release. “It’s rare to find a premium loose-leaf tea shop like ours, and we’d love to see the Irie Cup become a destination for tea-lovers everywhere.”

Once opened, the shop aims to give back to the community, calling it one of the owners’ “core values.” That will also be accomplished through the tea. With both having a Caribbean heritage, they were raised in families that instilled the “healing properties” of different teas.

“We’re just excited to open up our doors to everyone and to create a tea oasis in Huntley,” LaShanda said.

Joe and LaShanda Lewis are opening a new tea shop in downtown Huntley later this year in 2022 after operating the business from their home and farmers' markets since 2020.