By Charles Schelle The Bradenton Herald.
Alexis Robbins hopes she can strengthen ties in the community one cup of tea at a time.
Robbins is mainly a whole seller of her own tea line -- Createavity -- selling it at farmers markets and trade shows along with bath soaps and foods at farmers markets and craft shows.
Inside a storefront at 414 10th Ave. W., in Palmetto's historic district, she provides a welcoming room for groups.
I like bringing women together and supporting women. I think it's really important," she said. "I don't think people in general have a lot of support."
She knows from growing up in Sarasota and moving to Riveria Dunes where neighbors aren't all that chatty, she said. Forming her own group was an outlet to get to know people in the Palmetto area.
Robbins, a member of Junior League of Manatee County, is a frequent user of Meetup.com, hosting meet-up and networking groups in the store to get to know people with a common bond.
"We focus on networking groups, workshops," she said. "I have a couple ladies who do jewelry classes and ladies that do essential oil workshops."
Tuesday night will be a special Cocktails for a Cause event in which $10 will get individuals in the door to help raise money for Camelot Community Care for Christmas gifts for two siblings, ages 12 and 14. Camelot provides child welfare and behavioral health services in Manatee County with offices around Florida.
"This event helps provide them with a good Christmas because (ArTea) is sponsoring two children for us," she said. "The children turned in their Christmas list with all the toys they asked for."
Around the store, boutique furniture is for sale, art hangs on the wall, with tea lined up on the shelves, tea accessories and knick-knacks such as bath soaps shaped like cupcakes. She's also working with Village of the Arts business Sugar Cubed to make baked good infused with her tea available only at her shop and her market and craft show booths.
Her loose leaf tea, Createavity, is available at the parties and during business hours and she also sells tea from Plant City called Sereniteas & Soothers and honey made in Florida. At private events, Robbins will prepare the tea. During business hours, customers have to make their own tea.