Weaving two entrepreneurial passions

Claire Keys loves everything about tea, the culture, health benefits, new tea varieties, exotic tea ware and just relaxing and enjoying a cup.

Owner Claire Keys (left) adjusts one of the lighted flower arrangements as employee Amanda Burnett sorts through the rugs at the new location of Teas and Weaves on Main Street in downtown Penticton this week.

Owner Claire Keys (left) adjusts one of the lighted flower arrangements as employee Amanda Burnett sorts through the rugs at the new location of Teas and Weaves on Main Street in downtown Penticton this week.

Claire Keys loves everything about tea, the culture, health benefits, new tea varieties, exotic tea ware and just relaxing and enjoying a cup.

Her husband, Fritz Hollenbach holds the same passion for hand-made textiles. Putting those two together they created Teas & Weaves, a fun and colourful shop in downtown Penticton that sells all things tea and a wide variety of hand knotted oriental carpets.

The pair recently moved into a new space at 265 Main St. opening up room for them to have more stock and over 150 different kinds of tea. Keys is a native of Zimbabwe and worked in the Okanagan wine industry for 14 years. She recognized the similarities between wine and tea tasting and the many health benefits both share.

Gathering teas from around the world, she constantly researches and tries new products. Her husband, Hollenbach, grew grapes in the Okanagan Valley for over 25 years, travelling to off the beaten path exotic destinations after the harvest was complete. While living and learning from different cultures he would also spend time hunting for bargains and buying primitive artwork — especially textiles and carpets. He believes carpets are, “artwork for the floor.”

“Each carpet is a hand made work of art,” he said. “And, along with being creations of great beauty, they are practical. Who doesn’t love the feel of soft wool under their feet?”

Hollenbach has gathered hundreds of carpets of all sizes and styles from all over the world. He believes that by pricing them with a minimal mark-up they are comparative to the cost of machine made carpets consisting of synthetic materials.

Tea and carpets may seem like a strange mix to some, but to Claire and Fritz they are a perfect fit and they are passionate about it.

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