Printer Friendly

From Sweden to Spain, EWC takes the strangeness out of tea.

How do you survive selling only fine tea in a coffee drinking nation? The man to ask is Vernon Mauris of Stockholm, Sweden. Beginning from virtually nothing, in only 12 years Mauris has built a combination of tea importing, distribution, wholesaling, retailing and mail order business, known as EWC Scandinavia, that accounts for a full 6% of the sum of the Swedish tea market and is now attaining something of a global market presence, and most pointedly so in Spain.

Mauris is a tea personality in Sweden, the tea guru of the Swedes if you will. This reputation has been created over the years by a public relations effort that could fill a volume with press clippings and that has centered not only on the charming Mr. Mauris, and his trendy tea boutique, but most carefully on fine tea itself. Mauris has something of the missionary's vocation when it comes to tea and Sweden.

This devotion, and its success, shows to the best advantage in his store, The Tea Centre of Stockholm (yes, the name is in English). Mauris's slogan for The Tea Centre is "The Most Popular Tea Shop in Sweden." To his pleasure, he has the sales to support the saying. Before the Tea Centre opened, Sweden in fact had no real shop exclusively for fine bulk teas and offering too all the marvelous trappings of tea culture, from tins to porcelains. Swedish stores, with the exception of Mauris's, tend to sell teas as space fillers, and are ever in the shadow of coffee, the king beverage of the North.

The success of The Tea Centre extends from several factors: location on a busy and historic thoroughfare, the Hornsgatan, which serves a newly fashionable neighborhood of young people, intellectuals and immigrants; a physical appearance that marries the clean functional image of old Sweden with the exotica of the international tea trade (this results in a visually stunning store that is probably utterly unique); a sales atmosphere that is far from snobbish, rather friendly and informative, and yet which stresses the very best in teas; the warm personality of Mauris himself. The Tea Centre offers about 180 teas from around the world, plus a menu of its own house blends. When first opened, 12 years ago, the store relied on sales of flavored teas, which still lead, but now interest is gaining, as Mauris had hoped it would, in classic and rare garden teas.

The store not only bustles with activity, it also is the hub for a booming mail order business. In total, including mail order, The Tea Centre now represents by itself a 3% share of Swedish tea sales. The mail order operation also serves a growing number of far flung individuals in Japan, Europe and the U.S. Annual turnover in the store's mail order business has reached 400,000 Swedish Kr.

One of the store's great successes of late has been in sales of Soderblandning. This is a house blend, the "South Blend of Stockholm." The blend has quickly become a best seller among bulk teas in Sweden. For one example of the blend's hectic activity, last year The Tea Centre exported nine tons of it. The blend is also now being distributed in the U.S. by the Europa company.

Only a few steps from The Tea Centre is a totally different kind of establishment, but one which is also a vital element in Mauris's tea |program' for Sweden. This is the Te-depa self service outlet center, operated exclusively for tea retailers. The depot is set up like a store itself, rather than a warehouse, being well lighted and pleasant and with rolling floor-to-ceiling racks for easy accessibility. The Te-depa outlet offers retailers a stock on hand of about 6.5 tons of tea, along with a full complement of accessories. The outlet serves about 140 retailers.

Vernon Mauris came to Sweden in the early 60's from his native Sri Lanka. He worked initially to help set up the cooperative KF Group's tea line. At KF he also worked with coffee. He formed his own tea company, EWC Scandinavia AB, in 1979. This has evolved into a group of companies and services that offer a virtually total tea concept to consumers, retailers and tea product marketers. In addition to The Tea Centre of Stockholm, the mail order business and the Te-depa outlet, EWC includes a tea importing business (East West Co.), produces and markets its own label in teabags and bulk teas, is a major private label tea packer, and provides a Horeca (foodservice) tea line and service under the High Tea trademark.

The company's own label teas are marketed under the Vernon brand name, the teabag and loose tea products are packed in Sri Lanka and India. The success of these products has led the company to pack at origin for other European marketers as well. Teaexpo Ltd., an affiliated company with capability in such specialties as nylon teabags, is based in Sri Lanka.

Varied as EWC tea activities are, it is clearly The Tea Centre of Stockholm that is Mauris's prize. Perhaps this is so because the busy store allows for a full measure of human contact, and also because it gives him a front row seat as Swedes turn on to tea. The experiment in Stockholm has been of such reward that Vernon Mauris has chosen to export the entire concept, and to begin with to another land where tea remains a treasure to be discovered--to Spain. EWC Spain is already a reality and well expressed by The Tea Centre of Barcelona. Mauris is director of EWC Spain, while the man-on-the scene is Per Sundmalm. Sundmalm's Tea Centre of Barcelona can be found at Traversera de Gracia 122, in the heart of fashionable Barcelona.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:EWC Scandinavia AB, tea importer, distributor, wholesaler, retailer and mail order business, opening new outlet in Spain
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:Coffees from the Arabian Nights; a Spanish gourmet product.
Next Article:Czechoslovakia: returning to a freer economy.

Related Articles Announces That Over 100 Wineries From 14 Countries Have Enrolled in Its Innovative On-Line Membership Program.
Battery Technologies Inc. Signs Distribution Agreement For Norway.
Diana Casado: a tea pioneer in Spain.
Research and Markets: Furniture Distribution in Europe; the European Furniture Industry Comprises about 200 Furniture Chains with National Coverage...
The wholesale-retail tea relationship.
View Addresses of about 520 Furniture Distributors in Europe 2005.
View Short Company Profiles for Leading Mattress Distributors and Manufactures.
Get a Comparative Analysis of Home Furniture Distribution in Spain.
New Report Analyses the Furniture Distribution Market in Europe.
English organic teas.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters