‘A More Flavorful Life’: Spice & Tea Exchange on Track for Spring Opening on Main Street


Pam and John Robinson and opening The Spice & Tea Exchange at 118 Main St. this spring. Credit: Michael Dinan

The Robinsons fell in love with The Spice & Tea Exchange long before they planned a New Canaan franchise.

John Robinson, known to locals as the friendly face of Stewart’s Wine & Spirits for 26 years, had entered the Newport, R.I. store in the summer of 2017 while attending the annual folk festival there. 

“One of my friends said, ‘You’ve got to check this place out—you love cooking, they’ve got everything, spices, and teas, and everything you could ever imagine,’ ” he recalled. “I walked in and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ ”

Pam Robinson visited the same store in May of 2021. She recalled, “It was just completely overwhelming, in a good way. The smells, the vibrancy, the colors, it just welcomed you all in. It was like you didn’t want to leave. It became home. It was a very homey feeling.”

The pair found out a few months later that it was possible to franchise the store, though they had other priorities just then, such as getting married (in September 2022) and saving up. 

The Spice & Tea Exchange of New Canaan is on track to open in late-April or early-May at 118 Main St. (near Connecticut Muffin). The stores carry spices, handcrafted seasonings, loose-leaf teas, salts, sugars, gifts and more.

I’m excited—excited but nervous,” Pam Robinson said. “This is a whole new venture for us. It’s one thing working for somebody else, but working for yourself is different. And then also being responsible for other people. I’m going to have a staff. I want to treat them with respect. I want them to be happy when they come to work every day. Right now, we’re recruiting. Right now we have a great group that we’ve already been talking to and they’re on board. It’s exciting.”

As workers complete an interior fit-out f0r the open, naturally lit commercial space, passersby are already showing special interest, Pam Robinson said.

“Because we put the signs up, we’re getting emails now,” she said. “Some of them are ‘Welcome to the community,’ some of them are ‘Are you hiring?,’ and some of them are, ‘I’m an IT guy, do you need services?’ ” she said. “And we’ve noticed something. Every time we’re in the store, people stop by, they look in the window and they take pictures of the sign.”

Asked why they chose to open the store in New Canaan, John Robinson said, “It has such a charm about it. It’s amazing. There’s no town in Connecticut like New Canaan. There’s something different about this town. It drew me back. I was like, ‘You know what? This Spice & Tea Exchange would be great in New Canaan.”

Laura Budd, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, which the Robinsons have joined, agreed.

The Spice and Tea Exchange filling a long vacant storefront on Main Street is welcome news,” she said. “Pam and John are both savvy business professionals and John’s 20 plus years in New Canaan gives a unique insight on what our shoppers are looking for. We look forward to their grand opening this spring.”

Pam Robinson said she’s excited that the new business is part of the New Canaan community.

“The mission of the company is creating and sharing the experience of a more flavorful life, and we are going to do that within New Canaan,” she said.

One thought on “‘A More Flavorful Life’: Spice & Tea Exchange on Track for Spring Opening on Main Street

  1. Wonderful to have this lovely new store in New Canaan! Can’t wait to buy loose tea and their other temptations. Welcome and best wishes.

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