Couple brings ‘New Orleans’ vibe to Bowling Green

Ashley Chance Fox, assistant professor of American Sign Language purchases tea and a smoothie on Monday from Tea Squares in Downtown Bowling Green. Louisville senior Justin Wuetcher, an employee and former student of Chance Fox, told her about the new shop because they both consider themselves tea snobs.

Stephani Stacy

The early Saturday afternoon sunlight streamed in through the glass windows, bathing the clean pine floors and soft blue walls of the shop in warmth.

Hand-painted tennis shoes, paintings by local artists and handcrafted jewelry filled the shelves near the entrance of Tea Squares, a newly opened Bowling Green shop.

Music played softly while a stream of people wandered in and out, all leaving with one of Tea Squares’ trademark organic teas or decadent miniature cakes, tea squares, in hand.

“People keep calling them cupcakes because that’s what they’re used to, but they’re really mini-cakes,” said Theresa Shea, who owns Tea Squares with her husband Greg. “We’re hoping that eventually people will understand what a tea square is.”

Two parts bakery, one part boutique, Tea Squares showcases the local artistic talent of Bowling Green, while providing organic tea and coffee. The namesake comes from the miniature, two-layered cakes that are meticulously baked by the owners themselves.

“It’s the ingredients that make the difference,” Shea said.

Bowling Green resident Karen Wrills said it was her first time visiting Tea Squares, which she heard about through Facebook.

“It’s new, it’s different and it’s unique for Bowling Green,” Wrills said.

The Sheas moved to Bowling Green last May after selling their house in New Orleans. She said part of the reason they had moved to Bowling Green were the changes brought to life in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

“After Katrina, things are different there. It’s still a great place to go visit,” Shea said. “But there’s a lot of sadness down there right now, a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder from the storm. It’s getting better, but its got a long way to go.”

Shea said there are definitely New Orleans influences evident in Tea Squares, such as the wedding cake they call the “I Deaux.”

“We really wanted to offer some more items that kind of have the flavor of New Orleans,” Shea said.

Waverly junior Alix Mattingly said an interesting thing about Tea Squares was the variety of people who patron the shop.

“People from every walk of life come in here,” said Mattingly, who has been working behind the register at Tea Squares for a month. “Every ethnicity, every socioeconomic class walks in here… and it feels like you’re walking into your friend’s house.”

Shea said the grand opening of Tea Squares, which will be held Oct. to 15, will also function as a fundraiser and silent auction to support the Bowling Green Capitol Arts Center. She added that part of what cemented the decision to settle in Bowling Green was the warmth of its residents.

“We wanted to be in a community that’s growing. New Orleans isn’t growing,” Theresa Shea said. “But this community is growing. It’s a great size, too.”

Greg Shea said Bowling Green will be home to Tea Squares for an indefinite amount of time.

“Sure, I’ll go back and visit New Orleans,” Greg Shea said of his hometown. “But we’re not planning on moving back. Been there, done that. We’re gonna be here for a while.”