RIDGWAY – Ridgway’s one and only dedicated tea house, The Garden Goddess, has unexpectedly but serendipitously changed ownership. Former owner Jen Mahoney Riley will be moving to Montrose and couldn’t foresee herself commuting, she said. “Then one thing led to another and it all happened in a week, and I knew it was meant to be,” Mahoney Riley said. “It’s bittersweet, but the gal who’s buying it is awesome. I totally trust that it’s going into good hands.”
New owner Jeanne Robertson was equally pleased. “When I approached her it wasn’t even up for sale,” she said. The two signed papers last Tuesday, May 13, and Robertson, a hypnotherapist, left the next day for a conference. “I haven’t even had a chance to think about it yet,” she said. “But I’m really excited.”
Robertson plans to stay true to Mahoney Riley’s formula of tea, espresso, pastries, and an extensive line of organic, natural and locally made gifts and body-care products. “The town loves it,” she said. “I really don’t want to change it.”
Robertson will follow through with Mahoney Riley’s plan of putting a tea garden behind the shop to provide some outdoor seating. “I told Jen this was her dream, and if she still wanted to plant the garden I was fine with that so that she can have closure with something she started a couple of years ago,” Robertson said.
Robertson’s vision is to provide an amenity for the community. “I hope to have something happening for the little ones. I can just see little girls having their tea parties in their fancy dresses and tiaras,” she said. In the future, Robertson may add wine to the menu and live background music on the patio one or two nights a week in the summer.
The Garden Goddess is currently open by appointment until the end of May. Robertson plans to reopen with regular hours starting the week of June 16. Mahoney Riley will remain in the store until the end of June to help train Robertson.
Mahoney Riley expressed her gratitude to the community. “I’m just so appreciative of the community and all the love and support that we’ve gotten,” she said. She foresees returning to Ridgway in the future to possibly start a new and different business.
“This is my home, these are my people, this is my community,” Mahoney Riley said. “This town hasn’t heard the last from me.”