By Maddison Tischler
Upon entering Capital Tea on Broadway, a feeling of calmness and serenity will almost undoubtedly set in. The blissful soft colors and aroma of tea enlightens the senses and puts a smile on your face. Not only is Capital Tea a relaxing and rejuvenating place to eat and consume your favorite tea, but it is also a successful small business run by DU Alum Lisa Biro.
Throughout my first visit at Capital Tea, I found myself admiring the appearance, the selections, and the service of this unique space. I wanted to know more about how Biro came to open her own teashop, a rarity in Denver. I was curious how she started, why she entered into this venture, and the journey along the way.
After serving me a glass of iced peppermint tea, I asked Biro how she came to start her own small business. She explained that she had always wanted to do something for herself, “something more entrepreneurial and creative,” and decided in 2005 that it was time to try something new. Biro developed Capital Tea with an open mind, and it is one of the aspects that makes it so unique. She knew she wanted to create a small business that would bring people happiness, and so it all started with the thought of an open space and a creative approach. “First I brainstormed ideas. I didn’t eliminate any of them initially, I just thought big. Then I started refining them and looking at other factors.”
She shared with me how she came about the idea of Capital Tea, knowing it was something she was “closely connected to and passionate about.” Biro also looked into market factors, demographics, and needs in the area; through her analysis, Biro kept finding tea at the top of her list. Her idea came to life with her connection to tea, and anyone who walks into her shop can see that. There was “an opportunity with tea,” in Lisa’s mind, knowing that Denver was lacking in this area and that she could present her shop in a way that people could connect with and discover the delights of tea.
Intrigued by Biro’s entrepreneurial strengths, I asked her what helped her most as she started out. She cited her desire to do something that she loved—not something just as a way to make money—as her primary motivation. She elaborated by saying, “I think you really need to love it… it’s important to have the drive to get you through the slow times.” We talked about the jolting decline in the economy, the struggles created with the recession, and other events that one in her line of work cannot plan for. As a local shop, Biro has also had some challenges with employee retention, but cites that hiring DU students has been a great opportunity. As students, they are often able to commit for two, three, or four years, allowing her to build a strong network of employees. Biro also emphasized the importance of “personal commitment and a belief in what you are doing.” I could see through her honest and heartfelt responses just how meaningful her business was to her. “I feel like I am doing good things for people; it is very personal and profound for me,” she said.
When you walk into Capital Tea, it is hard to miss the decadent assortment of treats. Biro shared with me that one of the keys to having a unique business is keeping things fresh by always having a selection and bringing in new things. For example, every Friday Capital Tea has a unique special that they pride themselves on not repeating, an initiative that I found innovative and inspiring. I also appreciated that according to Biro, keeping things new for her customers is just as important to her as it is to them; she explained that she wants to be excited and explorative with her options as possible. Biro’s open-minded nature is one of the strongest assets to her successful small business.
My experience at Capital Tea was memorable because Biro is an inspiring individual with drive and compassion for others; she is a valuable entrepreneur for the Denver community. I highly recommend taking a break from you stressful studies to sit, sip, and enjoy some tea at her fantastic place!