New Port Richey, Florida – When Kelly Hackman opened The White Heron Tea & Gifts in January 2016, she never imagined that, in less than a year, she would need to expand to accommodate more guests. But, that’s exactly what has happened.
Located next to Karen’s Gifts in the Pasco Building in historic downtown New Port Richey, The White Heron has quickly become a treasure to those who have visited and dined there. Providing a relaxing spa/beach atmosphere, flavorful loose leaf tea, and delicious traditional tea food, the White Heron often found their calendar full and their three tables almost always booked. That’s why, when the opportunity to expand came, Hackman jumped at the chance.
Karen and Ed LeGault owned Karen’s Gift, a landmark gift store, in downtown New Port Richey, for 23 years. Recently celebrating their 23rd Anniversary in August, the couple decided shortly after that it was time retire. “Karen and Ed are such an important part of our downtown community,” Hackman states. “When they looked to retire, we were so honored that they would discuss options with us to help carry on their legacy.”
The White Heron Tea & Gifts officially took over the spaces occupied by Karen’s Gifts on October 1st. Over the past week, Hackman, with the help of her friends and family, have transformed the space, providing a fresh look, and have moved around the inventory. “Our goal was to create a fresh look, while preserving the feel and the type of merchandise that Karen and Ed had,” Hackman said. “It is so important to us to maintain the foundation that they have built, but also to add our little ‘White Heron’ touch to things.” Hackman has plans to continue the tradition of Karen’s Holiday Open House each November, as well as other activities she had.
The gift shop remains the same size, taking up two store-fronts on Grand Boulevard, just south of Main Street. By taking on the two additional storefronts, The White Heron was able to increase the size of their tea room. “Now, we can comfortably host a few more guests than before,” states Hackman. “We are hoping that by expanding we will be able to accommodate more date requests, and not have to turn so many people away due to our limited size.”
Just as it started, The White Heron continues to be a traditional style tea room, where reservations are required, and menu choices must be selected in advance. The focus of the tea room has stayed the same, despite growing. They still maintain a “no cell phone” policy while having tea, and they strive to provide an environment that is relaxing and elegant. Even though the tea room is slightly larger, reservations are still required, and it is recommended to be made a minimum of 48 hours in advance.
In addition to tea being served in the tea room, The White Heron also provides Tea To Go. Each day they feature one iced tea and several loose leaf hot teas that can be purchased in to go cups and taken on your adventure around town.
The White Heron Tea & Gifts is open Tuesday through Saturday. The gift shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The tea room is open for reservations each day at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. A complete menu is available online at www.thewhiteheronfl.com or by stopping in The White Heron Tea & Gifts at 6228 Grand Boulevard, in historic downtown New Port Richey.