What’s brewing in downtown Rutland: New Tea & Gift Shop provides a welcoming gathering place
3 minute read

Filled with light, warmth, and many cozy cups of tea, Loose Loona Gifts + Tea House embodies the Scandinavian concept of “Hygge,” a calm and comfortable atmosphere to spend time with friends and family. Opened last September, the family-owned shop in downtown Rutland offers a vast and varied selection of hot and cold brewed teas from all over the world, and an enticing menu of sweet and savory light fare. Adding even more delight to the Loose Loona experience is a tastefully curated gift shop that carries locally crafted items as well as eye-catching artisan finds from around New England and beyond. 

As a hospital administrator for more than 30 years, owner Michelle Cordeiro had always dreamed of tapping her more creative side. She also had a strong desire to be part of the growth and renaissance of the community with a business that would complement the neighboring bookstore, boutiques, and jewelry shop, making downtown Rutland a vibrant, appealing destination. Due to the recent closure of a gift shop, Michelle saw an opportunity, and after a thorough search for just the right location, 11 Center Street became available. 

Once the space was secured, Michelle asked herself, “Where would I want to go to relax, talk, and shop with close friends and family?” The idea of Loose Loona began to take shape. An open, airy space, enhanced by historic architectural detail, set the scene for Michelle’s vision for a symbiotic blend of tea house and gift shop, two parts of a business whole that would sustain each other and enhance the downtown ambience.

When Michelle reached out to local lenders with her concept, they encouraged her to contact the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) to develop a business plan. She connected with Nancy Shuttleworth, Business Advisor for Rutland and Bennington counties.

‘Nancy helped me hone my skills for writing a business plan,” Michelle said. “She gave me a better understanding of what information needed to be included, and how to present my idea to lenders.”

“Throughout the business planning process, VtSBDC was very responsive and supportive,” Michelle continued. “My advisor provided honest, direct feedback about my business plan and ideas to achieve the best possible outcome. The written materials and templates provided by VtSBDC were invaluable.”

Nancy enjoyed working with Michelle throughout the startup process, including developing the narrative and financial projections for a complete business plan. 

“Michelle had a goal and vision, and she has created an oasis in downtown Rutland that is a place people will want to return to again and again,” said Nancy.

Since Loose Luna’s opening, Nancy has helped Michelle connect to helpful resources for developing the website and social media channels, digital tools to build engagement with customers about upcoming events, new offerings such as gift baskets, and the ability to purchase favorite teas online.

In less than one year, Michelle and her family have fulfilled many of their goals cited in the business plan. Michelle and husband Dan take care of operations, management, and marketing while their son Evan serves as the kitchen manager. Workshops and events are on the horizon including tea tastings, theatrical and poetry readings, and collaborations with neighboring small businesses. 

“My hope is to do our part in making downtown Rutland a destination,” said Michelle. “During our first spring and summer, we expect to see many more locals and visitors exploring our region, and stopping in to experience and explore Loose Loona’s many loose tea options and browse the gift shop at their leisure.” 

Learn more at www.LooseLoona.com

Looking for more? Check out our resources page or reach out to your regional advisor!

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