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Mike Harney Spills the Tea: History of the Millerton Store

by Emeric Harney October 27, 2022 3 min read 5 Comments

Mike Harney Spills the Tea: History of the Millerton Store

Did you know we have a store? Since the vast majority of our customers are e-commerce folks, many of you may not realize we actually have a bricks & mortar location – in truth, we have two in the U.S. and a few more abroad! We have a store in SoHo in New York City, and we have a store in Tokyo! But today I’m going to spill the tea on our store in Millerton, New York, which is where our headquarters are located. It was the first store we opened…well, sort of.

Our first shop was in an obscure location in Lakeville, Connecticut, close to one of our early factories. It was a charming location with a brook and a swing for kids (and the young at heart) to swing on. However, we outgrew that factory and moved to Millerton to a larger facility. That move meant there was no reason to keep the shop at that location, and it gave us an opportunity to move to a prime location in the newly bustling town of Millerton. That was in 2005.

When it comes to opening and running the shops, my wife is the star of the show. Even as a young mother, Brigitte balanced her family and this new venture, bringing charm and style to the store. She continues to oversee the Millerton shop, bringing some French flair to little ol’ Millerton. Customers love to come in and catch up with her, and Brigitte loves to catch up with our regular customers, see pictures of their grandkids or trips.

When you come into the Millerton store, you’ll see tea stacked high on the walls. We carry several hundred teas in the store (since that’s what people expect when they come to a Harney & Sons Fine Teas store!) as well as items that Brigitte calls “lifestyle.” Brigitte’s natural charm and training have rubbed off on her staff, who are equally charming as they assist customers with teas or finding other nice gifts from our selection of whimsical, fun, and stylish merchandise. 

Another thing customers enjoy when they visit Millerton is food! When we bought the site, it had recently been a restaurant so the bones were there to create one. Little by little, our son Alex and Brigitte expanded the offerings to include nice sandwiches and salads as well as cheeses, soup, hot plates and desserts. While the menu does change, if I were to say we had a specialty I’d probably say there is the Brigitte sandwich of ham and butter on a baguette. Very French. Sad to say that the Mike sandwich was removed – not fair! We do work with a Catskill Mountain cheesemaker to create a few cheeses using our teas. Always something to inspire or intrigue you!

While Alex has moved on from being the chef at Millerton, he still oversees it. He has a great curiosity about food and has developed some good skills. As parents, we would like to take credit, but Alex deserves pretty much it all! It’s a lovely place to try some new teas, have some food inside the restaurant or at our outdoor seating. It’s more than a store; it’s a destination that people travel quite some distance to experience as our “flagship” store.

The pandemic affected us, of course, as it did the world. We had to close for several months but began reopening slowly in the fall of 2020. Because of COVID, tea tastings have also been restructured and continue to evolve – they are much more restricted than they were pre-pandemic. If you’re coming and would like a tea tasting, it’s best to inquire ahead of time.

We hope you have the opportunity to come visit our Millerton store! One of the many great things about having customers drop in is that, unlike ecommerce, we are able to interact with customers and learn what they like (and dislike) about our teas. Nothing beats hearing it from someone right in front of you. 

Whichever store you visit – Millerton, SoHo or our stores abroad – we’ll have tea and smiles waiting for you!

Emeric Harney
Emeric Harney


5 Responses

Richard August Rosa
Richard August Rosa

November 19, 2022

Not sure when I became a Harney Tea fan, but it has been a long time. I was a pretty basic tea drinker, Earl Grey, Breakfast Teas, Lapsang Souchong, etc. I am now a White Tea fan. I don’t know your associates name who tempted me to try them, but my new favorites are Chinese Silver Needle and Ceylon Vintage Silver Tips. I also have a tin of Mokalbari Golden Assam, which I will be opening in a day or two.

Love your teas, love coming up to Millerton and you have the best staff of anyplace I shop!!

Kathie Plaskiewicz
Kathie Plaskiewicz

November 19, 2022

LOVE Harney & Sons Teas! I met Mr. Harney at a craft fair in Sharon (or Lakeville?) CT many yrs ago when he was set up next to me selling his teas! Ive been buying them ever since, either by mail, or by an occasional day trip to Millerton. Ive also been to the Soho store once. Love the shop, & for yrs I have a continual pitcher of Peach Iced tea in my fridge all summer, & during winter, love Paris tea, Hot cinnamon Spice, & English Breakfast. And Ive turned friends into your customers too. Great customer service as well. - Kathie

Nancykimdavid
Nancykimdavid

November 19, 2022

Love your Millerton location. We were lucky enough to come to your tea festival several years back. We were hoping you would have another. Even with being one of the hottest days, you really pulled it off. From the factory tour where we got to make our own blended teas, to the Japanese tea ceremony, it was heaven, something we will always remember. Thank you.

Debbi
Debbi

November 19, 2022

We visited a couple of years ago on the way home from a family wedding in CT. We loved it.

Carol
Carol

November 19, 2022

Great story! Continued great success!

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