Tea is a great conversation starter and there’s a lot to talk about with Barry and Francis Brady.
The Bradys are not a group but a couple from South Africa who are the newest members of The Public Market in Chemainus family. Fittingly, they opened the Taylor & Lancaster loose leaf tea company on Canada Day, July 1.
In the month and a half they have been in town, they have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Chemainus business community. They both enjoy talking to people about their life stories and telling their own stories, of which there are many.
“We like people, we like to chat,” Francis said. “We want to go on a trip and take them with us. This is not a typical retail space.
“We wanted to open on Canada Day,” added Barry.
There is a meaning to the name of the company. Taylor is Barry’s grandfather’s last name and Lancaster is Francis’ grandfather’s last name. Once they decided which name should go first, they were literally in business and going well.
“We actually sold out tea almost every day and got our first online orders,” Francis noted.
“We really want to do a lot of local support and support each other’s businesses. Everything we do is our own. You won’t find this in any other store.
Barry, 50, and Francis, 54, have done a lot in their lives and look forward to a lot more in the future.
“Travel is an integral part of our lives even before coming to Canada,” said Francis. “We’ve been lucky enough to go to some amazing places.”
Places that many people never get the chance to experience, like Mount Kilimanjaro and Antarctica, to name a few.
And then there are the unexpected experiences, like being in Chile during an 8.8 magnitude earthquake.
Barry was born in Durban, South Africa before moving to Johannesburg.
“My career and everything was centered around Johannesburg until we left for Canada,” he pointed out.
Barry has done it all, mostly strategy and marketing with general business qualifications, but he’s also served in the military for a year, worked for tech companies like Microsoft and Samsung and a large internet services company in South Africa. South before shifting gears and getting into photography. the last 13 years.
Francis was born in Johannesburg and lived there all her life before coming to Canada with Barry in 2011. But first they had to meet and it was a chance meeting as is the case with so many couples.
Francis said she’s taken every path imaginable in her professional career, including as CFO of an IT company.
They met in 1993 and “it was an interesting meeting,” Barry conceded.
“We met at a flea market,” Francis said. “He was passing in front of my stand.”
“A friend said she was training at the same gym,” Barry added. “I was doing bodybuilding at the time.”
They realized they were indeed in the same gym, but just hadn’t crossed paths. When they did, it set the relationship in motion.
“I’m almost done with my training and we can chat,” Barry recalled saying at the time. “The rest is history.”
It was a whirlwind romance. They met in December 1993, got engaged in September 1994 and married in December 1994, 28 years ago.
In 2011, they landed in Vancouver, lived in Brentwood Bay on the island for a while and then returned to Vancouver for 10 years.
During this time, Barry broadened his horizons in photography. “As a photographer, I’ve done a lot of work for hotels,” he said. “Most downtown Vancouver hotels I’ve managed to photograph.”
His grandfather once worked for Kodak, so he always loved photography and started taking amazing trips related to craftsmanship. Barry has taken small trips to places like Alert Bay and bigger trips to destinations like the Yukon, with a focus on photography, and plans to continue down that path.
Francis added that she and Barry had also worked for the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver.
“It was truly an eye opener to see the world through an environmental lens,” she said.
Also, they both worked for Harbor Air in the maintenance division.
“As things unfolded we said ‘let’s try over there,'” laughed Barry.
“I also thought I would change careers and did a pre-apprenticeship in carpentry,” Francis said. “Unfortunately, my age was a bit against me. It’s very physically demanding. »
The owner of the Bradys decided she was going to sell her property, prompting a move to the island on May 1 this year.
“Francis always said she wanted to come back to the island,” Barry said.
It was a bit difficult, but they managed to find accommodation in Duncan and the company showed up in Chemainus.
“We saw this little booth that was vacant, we had a little chat and before we knew it we had signed the lease,” Francis said.
“We thought it might be interesting,” Barry said. “Then we started to investigate. Tea could be an interesting activity. Again, this is a recurring activity.
Francis took a course as a tea sommelier and now they have gone in another direction, using their other experiences.
“It gave us a lot more information about the tea industry and we gain knowledge,” Francis said.
They have free mini-lectures and tea tastings on Saturdays, which is just the start.
“We have a lot of ideas in the works,” joked Francis.
Free deliveries in the Cowichan Valley are planned, “which is a good idea for local people,” Francis added.
And there will always be extra chairs to chat with the Bradys and maybe even the warmth of a portable electric fireplace to create atmosphere when the seasons change to cooler days – perfect for enjoying a cup of tea.