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Spotlight on Top Business Owners in
Food & Beverage


Old West Spice and Tea Co.

Name: Kimberly Parker

Location: Alturas, CA 

Type of Business:
Retail sales; coffee, tea spices, community work experience, reading tutoring

What does your business do?
Provides community with a gathering place,provides work experience for students, provides reading tutoring after school, and provides quality coffee, spices, teas, and gifts.

When and why did you start the biz?
My business began on 10/1/18 with the goal of opening on 4/1/2019. I retired from 25 years of teaching elementary students grades K-5. Upon retiring many parents and teachers asked me to tutor students in reading. I also knew students from the high school needed some practical work experience. So I decided to combine the business end of Old West Spice and Tea Co. with my educational background to continue to serve our students and the community. Due to multiple eye surgeries I am not able to return to the classroom as a substitute teacher.

How Many People are in your Company?
One, at this time.

Where's your office?
I lease a space at 332 N Main St., Alturas, Ca. The location is the historic Belli building. It is a masonry building with steel beams. The cost to build it in the 1800's was $39,000. There is ample room for the tea business and space for the students to relax and read. The business will carry a rustic western theme.

What's the toughest part of running your biz?
The most difficult issues I have faced to date are trying to upgrade the plumbing and the electrical. The building has concrete floors and the health department is requiring a complete upgrade of the plumbing and the addition of commercial sinks. There are no outlets in the main section of the shop. I will also need internet for the business and the students.

What's the most fun part?
I love shopping for and decorating the shop. I love sampling the teas, coffee, and spices in search of quality products. I miss working with the students and I am looking forward the tutoring and work experience aspects of my business. I intend for the tutoring to be non-profit. I would like to be able to pay the students in the work experience program.

Anything you would have done differently?
While the Belli Building has wonderful character I would probably searched for a space to lease that had the plumbing already updated. I would have contacted the health department first to find out with the requirements and restrictions are for our county.

What's next on the horizon for your biz?
I am currently addressing the issue of electrical outlets. I am working toward an opening date of April 1, 2019. Most of my supplies and decor have arrived. I will need to work with the school district to be sure the work experience and tutor programs are ready by Sept. 2019.

What advice do you have for others?
Just because you retire from one career does not mean you cannot continue to be a valuable, contributing member of your community. Immerse yourself in something you love to do while helping others. Don't think your dreams are impossible. Research, research, research, there is help out there if you are willing to work for it.

How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
I love reading about business that have become successful! It makes me feel like I too can be a success. I enjoy reading about the ideas of each business. Last, hints and tips I pick up will reading the site.

School (where, still in school, degree)?
Simpson, Redding, CA. BA, Chico State, teaching credential

Prior jobs or business?
Elementary school teacher-25 years Insurance Company office manager- 5 years ( Dolby Ins.) Insurance Company Office a Manager- 5 years ( State Farm)

Favorite Food?

What are your pets' names?
Sophie, Gracie, Bridgett, all beagles

Do any of these pets help with your biz?
Not at the present time.

Is there any one person or event in your life that led you to go into business for yourself?
Upon retiring I realized I missed working with the students and I did not want to sit around the house all day. My daughter was also a big motivator and helped convince me to give it a try.

Anyone you publicly want to thank?
Thank you to my husband, Danny Parker. He is the muscle behind the girl. Thank you to my daughter, Tiffany Morris, for encouragement. Thank you to my son, Bryan Parker, the worker bee. Thank you to my community for their encouragement and support.

Contact Info:
Kimberly Parker
718 East 5th St.
Alturas, CA 96101


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