Banff Tea Co was the brain-child of Susanne Gillies-Smith. Susanne`s involvement with tea began while spending her childhood ‘up the mountain’ at the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse near Lake Louise. Her family have owned this back country Teahouse for over fifty five years and Susanne herself took over the reins in 2003. When she had the idea to start the Banff Tea Co she did so largely as a mechanism to give 25% of its profit to charity, an achievement she reached over 5 years as owner.
Siona Gartshore fell in love with loose tea when she managed several tea stores in the UK for a family business. Having already acquired the title of ‘coffee master’, she extended her knowledge to the same level and beyond with tea while training others for the British stores. Arriving in Banff in 2009, she was warmly welcomed to the Banff Tea Co team. She became the store`s manager in 2010 and has happily been sharing her tea-geekiness with one and all ever since!
Siona took over as owner of Banff Tea Co in May 2013, while Susanne happily continues managing her family business with more energy and love than ever.
Siona: Originally from Scotland, Siona has been infusing, blending, learning/teaching and retailing tea for over seven years. `I am very lucky to have a job I can be so passionate about. It`s such a great feeling to be able to share a cuppa or create a new blend with people in the store every day! `
Michele: Originally form Kelowna, B.C. Michele has had an exciting career in Craft Service for the film industry in Toronto. After 20 or so years however she left the city behind and moved to the mountains. She loves welcoming people into the store to taste and talk about tea or anything else!
Max: Originally from Saskatchewan, Max is a long-time local to Banff. She is an artist and Illustrator by trade and her work can be purchased in numerous locations in the area and beyond. When she`s not working on her latest book or art piece however, she is busy displaying teapots and adding bright visual flair in the Banff Tea Co store.
Luke: Originally form Nelson, B.C. is our resident ‘Tea Dude’. Luke is a garbage man by day but by night he enjoys infusing customers with his ever increasing knowledge of tea. His love of the leaf developed after travelling in Asia. Being a lover of fine cuisine as well, he is always happy to share his enthusiasm and enjoyment of every nuance of taste and flavor.