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The lady at the opera may not know but it's George Cannon tea.

The lady at the opera may not know but it's George Cannon tea

Ets. George Cannon is located in a quite anonymous looking building on a typical street in a typical Parisian suburb. Do the neighbors have any notion of the wonderland of tea treasured away behind the company's humble exterior? When the door opens, one smells it, an almost overwhelming wave of tea aromas. When the eye adjusts to the interior, one sees it, towering lines of tea squeezing in upon the already narrow aisles.

A quick glance to the nearest wall of shelves, directly on one's nose, gives memorable testament to the company's slogan: `George Cannon: Specialist in quality bulk teas of all origins.' There are tons of tea here and a register of some 300 qualities, plus a panoply of tea-time accessories.

The director of George Cannon is Olivier Scala, 37 years of age. Olivier has been with the company for 10 years, and follows his father as director. The Scala name is well known in French tea circles as before acquiring George Cannon some 18 years ago, the senior Scala was a director at Cie. Coloniale, now part of the Fralib group of companies in France. A great uncle of Olivier created Te d'Elephant, currently a ubiquitous range of teas. Olivier is the fourth generation of Scalas in tea.

Ets. George Cannon traces its origin to 1898, and its name to a British gentleman who set up in Paris with a French wife and a French tea company. Today, the company still has about 90 percent of its activity in bulk teas. Tea bags in paper and muslin are now being added to the product line. The emphasis, unmistakably, is on classic quality teas and blends. The assortment of flavored teas seems exhaustive.

George Cannon has its own labels--Porte Ocean, Welcome Tea, Pousse-Pousse, Dragon--and packs extensively for private labels as well. For example, the company is source of `Opera Tea' the house brand promoted by the Paris Opera. Cannon brands are distributed to specialty food stores and roasters in many regions of France. About 15 percent of the volume is exported, most notably to Japan and Canada. Exports are increasing.

Scala ranks George Cannon fifth in size on the domestic market. As for the future, he candidly admits that the company is flexible and open to possibilities, but he expects it to grow by selling the best teas. He also admits the unavoidable truth--"Careful, watch your step here"--that George Cannon has long outgrown the current premises and will be moving to larger quarters.

PHOTO : Olivier Scala is the fourth generation of his family in the tea packing business. He is

PHOTO : director of George Cannon.
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Title Annotation:Ets.George Cannon
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jun 1, 1989
Words:451
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