Following the closure of Tama Cafe in late December, owners Rocco Quaranto and Wells and Kelly Struble began selling off equipment, furniture and fixtures they no longer needed, much of it for cash. They decided that the money would be reinvested in their remaining business, Tama Sparkling Tea.
Quaranto said as the cash was coming in, he was reminded of his early days with The Fuzzy Peach, where they would participate in the UNCW Beach Blast, an annual gathering held at the beach to welcome incoming freshmen.
“After the first year we participated and saw all of the branded merchandise that was given away, and we thought, rather than put money into cups or pens which no one really cares about, let’s just give out cash, because who doesn’t like getting cash?” he said.
So the following year Fuzzy Peach did just that, taking the money they would have spent on giveaways and dropping the cash in small bills from a pier to the eager crowd of students below.
“There was no chance any of the bills were going out to sea,” Quaranto said.
Quaranto was reminded of how excited the students were to receive that money and thought about how great it would be to replicate that in some way for Tama Sparkling Tea customers.
“We decided that all of the cash that came in following the closure of the café would be divided among all of our online tea orders for the month of February in a random act of giving,” Quaranto said. “Rather than spending money to make T-shirts or hats to give out to our customers, let’s give them something they can really use.”
The promotion is structured so that every online order this month will contain cash: $1, $5, $10, $20 or $100. According to Quaranto, quite a few of the boxes they’ve shipped already have contained $100 bills.
Quaranto said that while closing the cafe has been disappointing, he and his co-founders are pleased that they’ve been able to move several of their café employees to their Market Street warehouse to help with distribution.
Tama Tea will be available in 46 Whole Foods locations starting next month, and was recently picked up by Central Market, a chain of 10 high-end grocery stores throughout the state of Texas.
Quaranto said the tea is also selling well on Amazon.com, and the company continues to donate one penny from every can sold to Masonboro.org, a local non-profit organization working to protect public access, promote responsible use and preserve the traditions of Masonboro Island.
“We’re still saddened to have had to close the cafe, but at the same time we’re really excited where the Tama Sparking Tea brand is going,” Quaranto said. “We’re making lemonade out of lemons.”
More information on Tama Sparkling Tea and how to take advantage of the February promotion is available online
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