Kusmi Tea Launches Multi-Location Canadian Expansion

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By Mario Toneguzzi

Kusmi Tea Paris, which has a history and tradition dating back to the Tsars of Russia in 1867, is expanding its footprint in Canada with plans to open a number of stores in the future.

The international brand opened its first location in 2010 in downtown Montreal on St-Denis Street.

In June, it opened it first flagship store at the CF Rideau Centre in the heart of Ottawa and plans are to open another store in Laval in October and a store in Toronto in 2019. 

Ben Angeloni, co-owner of T Importation Canada which is overseeing the brand’s Canadian expansion, said the business plan is to grow the retail presence and the online presence across the country.

  Photo (Below): CF Rideau Centre Location in Ottawa

Photo (Below): CF Rideau Centre Location in Ottawa

“The online has been going very well and the retail presence we decided to test our mettle and open the first couple of stores closer to home. Therefore Ottawa and Laval,” said Angeloni. “And the plan is starting 2019 to do Toronto and then Calgary, Vancouver and beyond."

“We need to get out West." 

Kusmi Tea Paris is already available in more than 200 points of sale in Canada and online at www.kusmitea.ca

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“Globally tea is one of the biggest beverages - second only to water,” said Angeloni. “It’s growing phenomenally in Canada. I think David’s Tea has done a fantastic job over the last number of years. They sort of democratized tea. And they brought a more premium tea experience than just buying the stuff at the grocery store."

“They developed the market and are a clear leader and I thank them for all the hard work they’ve done. Kusmi is more premium. The brand has been around for 150 years and its success is based on its proprietary blend. Although we have the regular Earl Grey and breakfast the majority of our sales are on blends that are specific to Kusmi. And it’s recipes that date back to the forming of the company 150 years ago in Russia. When you taste a Kusmi, it’s a different experience than tasting something that you buy at David’s Tea or that you buy at the market. The flavours just jump out at you and it’s a much more premium experience.”

Tea leaves come from producing countries such as China, India and Japan. The blends are flavoured with subtle essences and the teas are packaged in traditional metal cans or muslin bags, which preserve the quality of the teas.

  Photo (Above and Below): Montreal Location

Photo (Above and Below): Montreal Location

The company offers 100 varieties of high quality black and green teas, red teas and infusions using only whole leaves, all of which are produced near Le Havre.

Its history begins in 1867 when Pavel Kousmichoff founds the P.M Kousmichoff tea house in Saint Petersburg, Russia which became a favourite of the Tsars.

In 1917, The Kousmichoff family fled Russia in the wake of the Revolution and set up shop on Avenue Niel in Paris.

“The family business prospers, with boutiques springing up in the world. (In) 2003 inventive and cutting-edge, the

Orebi brothers take the reins of the business with a single goal in mind: to make Kusmi the worldwide icon of premium teas,” says the company’s website.

“In 15 years, the company has become established in 35 countries and opened 100 shops in France and abroad. With over 100 blends and single origin teas, Kusmi has emerged as one of the world’s great tea companies, employing more than 700 people and reaching sales of 75 million euros in 2017.”

Angeloni said there will always be consumers that buy large quantities of tea for a cheap price at the grocery store but many tea drinkers are also looking for a more refined experience, a more unique experience and a better quality for the tea that they drink.

“That’s the niche we’re hoping to fill,” said Angeloni.

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com

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