A decade ago, Duc “Doug” Phung set up a weekend City Market concession stand selling smoothies and bubble teas.
Three years later he had built up such a loyal following he opened a storefront for Lollicup Teazone at 409 Main St.
Phung also was traveling throughout the country as an IT consultant in the health care field. During his travels he would visit other tea shops and make note of things they were doing better than Lollicup — not only selling loose leaf teas but putting them in canisters so customers could see what they were buying; letting them scoop the tea themselves so they could take in the scents; and providing a guide that would highlight the health benefits of each tea.
Earlier this year he was ready to introduce those ideas and some new ones of his own. He rebranded his City Market shop to DragonFly Teazone and added loose leaf teas, fresh juice smoothies, lattes, dessert crepes and ice cream.
On Oct. 7 he expanded again, opening a similar shop in the Northland’s Creekwood Commons, 215 N.E. Englewood Road, Suite D.
It also specializes in loose leaf teas, selling 140 varieties in large glass jars along one side of the shop. Flavors include Jasmine Blossom, Watermelon Cooler, White Blueberry, Chocolate Chai, Apricot Black Tea, Cocomint Green Tea, Yarba Mate Green, Almond Oolong, Peace of Mind Herbal Tea and decaf teas.
“Detox, slimming teas, cinnamon orange spice and sweet pumpkin spice are among our most popular,” Phung said.
He also is getting requests for dandelion tea, as well as Pu-erh tea, produced in the Yunnan province of southwestern China.
Health benefits are highlighted on a chalkboard above the canisters — anti-aging, aid for digestion, relaxation, help for insomnia or hangover, to promote healthy skin and more.
Customers place the glass lids on a rack while they scoop up their loose leaf tea into a bag. Then they weigh it — most teas sell for $2.75 an ounce — and pay at the register. The shops also will brew a cup of any of the teas.
Phung plans to add savory crepes early next year and shaved ice in spring 2016.
“I believe in the product and wanted to open a place where people could indulge in their love of tea, bubble tea,” Phung said. “When I started out about 90 percent of my sales were in smoothies and about 10 percent in bubble teas. Now it is about 60 to 70 percent of sales are in bubble teas, even if it is a smoothie with the tapioca pearls in the bottom.”
Qdoba Mexican Grill had previously confirmed plans to return to the Kansas City area with three new locations. Now it has some updates.
The restaurant at 9300 N.E. Barry Road is scheduled to open Nov. 3. The chain also is scheduling an early December opening for its location at 6350 Johnson Drive in Mission, and an early 2016 opening for its location at 515 Westport Road.
Qdoba, which was founded in Denver in 1995, specializes in customizable Mexican entrees, including burritos, tacos, nachos, Mexican gumbo, quesadillas and taco salad.