It’s always tea time in downtown Creston at Tigz Tea Hut

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Tigz Tea Hut owner Lori Cameron (above) and some of the store's 170 teas (below).

Tigz Tea Hut owner Lori Cameron (above) and some of the store's 170 teas (below).

Tigz Designs isn’t just a place for gift baskets anymore — since the shop moved downtown last fall, the tea selection has been expanding at the store, known at the Tigz Tea Hut Experience. And what an experience it is!

“I think with the way tea has been flying out of here, everyone in Creston has cups full of it,” said Lori Cameron, who owns the shop at 1013 Canyon St. (the former location of Black Bear Books).

Luxury teas from around the world line the shelves behind the counter in matching tins — and with over 170 kinds, it’s no wonder the scent that envelops customers as they enter offers a shot of instant relaxation.

“There’s no way I’ve tried all of them — but I’m trying,” Cameron said with a laugh.

With premium luxury teas from around the world — including black, green, rooibos, herbal, white and organic (the latter of which is the least popular) — and offering tea-related items, such as pots and gift cards, Tigz is truly an experience for any tea lover.

And for the uninitiated, it can be equally exciting, particularly when they can try something unexpected, such as fruit teas, which are a big change from the bottled iced teas found in convenience stores.

“They taste it and then they say, ‘Whoa!’ They’re used to sweet tea,” Cameron said.

Customers can drop in for a sample anytime — elderberry blue is June’s tea of the month — or simply pick up a full-sized tea to go, and Cameron is planning to offer iced teas throughout the summer.

For Tigz Tea Hut, summer gets started with a grand opening celebration on June 28, with guests including Laura Leeder, who will sign her teacup cards, and the makers of Tabletree juice and Swan Valley Honey.

A cup of tea is a tradition with many customers, said Cameron, and she is no different — afternoon tea brings back a lot of memories.

“I think about when I would sit with Grandma — there was always tea and cookies,” she said.

Even for dedicated tea drinkers, there is always something new to learn, and Cameron does plenty of research when she brings in new products. For example, she’s discovered that teas grown at high altitudes require less pesticides, some black tea has higher antioxidant levels than green tea and, she said, “rooibos is naturally caffeine-free — and delicious!”

Having a downtown storefront has been a positive move for Cameron. She previously ran Tigz Designs out of her Ash Street home, but being downtown has made it possible for even more customers to visit. And the tea makes it possible to add even more items to the gift baskets she sells, along with the greeting cards she designs combining digital art, rubber stamps, photos, handmade paper, ribbon, embossing and found items.

The larger space has also allowed her the opportunity to expand on what she already does, with new chocolate products and gift basket items in the works.

“We’re going to be building on that,” Cameron said. “I’m always looking for good things.”

And she’s enjoyed the chance to interact with the public far more than she would have when the business was based at home. Although she’d planned to only offer gift baskets for the Christmas season, it quickly became clear that plan would change.

“It’s just been incredible,” Cameron said. “I think it was a week before Christmas when I thought, ‘I’m really going to miss this.’ By the time I got to the last week in December, I knew I had to do it.”