After five years of making tea time an experience residents could indulge in on State Street, Dobra Tea is set to close its doors, much to the dismay of the community built around the shop.
The Madison community has shown solemn support in response to the news. Owner Adam Ernst said since the announcements of its closing, dedicated customers have packed the tea house. He said he has had to turn people away from the shop because it does not have enough space for everyone.
Jacob Kositzke, a University of Wisconsin sophomore and frequent customer of Dobra, said he is sad that such a unique establishment on State Street will no longer be there. He said he often goes in not just to spend time in the relaxing atmosphere, which he said is what attracts many students, but also for their wide selection of fine tea.
“I wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom and piss straight Dobra tea. Now what am I gonna do?” Kositzke said.
Kositzke said he considers himself a “tea connoisseur” and has always been impressed with how many different kinds of tea he could buy at Dobra.
Hannah Friedrich, a UW sophomore, said she plans on visiting Dobra one last time before it closes and will miss the shop when it is gone.
Friedrich said she often sees other students studying or just hanging out at Dobra, and was surprised to hear that it was going out of business. She said she has fond memories of making a trip downtown just for Dobra with friends from her dorm freshmen year.
“I feel like there’s really no other place on State Street that compares to Dobra,” Friedrich said. “It kind of puts all other cafes in a whole different circle because of the ambiance and atmosphere it provides.”
Anthony Verbrick, manager of Macha Tea House in Madison, said it was unfortunate to see Madison losing a tea house, especially one located downtown.
Verbrick said the demographic that Macha attracts in its Monroe Street location is a different clientele than Dobra does. He said it is very diverse, ranging in ages from 2 to 90. He said customers come from across the board, from Edgewood High School students to UW students.
Verbrick also said he would like to see more tea options in Madison.
“It is a challenging business to maintain open, especially considering all the coffeehouses Madison has, but we remain optimistic,” Verbrick said.
He said the traffic is seasonal for Macha. Winter is pretty busy, but business dies down a bit in the summer as everybody is leaving, he said.
Executive Director of the Business Improvement District Mary Carbine said businesses on State Street and Capitol Square will usually follow a seasonal pattern of closing and opening as well. She said businesses often close in January or February, with new ones opening in the spring.
Dobra’s closing shows how businesses on State Street and Capitol Square are frequently in transition, Carbine said.
Carbine said because the crowd who lives in the downtown area is always changing, it makes sense that the market changes with it. She said she predicts a great deal of change in the downtown area after this year with the development of new housing developments.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ky_olsen