MORE - Tealicious
Processed through a program started under President Ford following the Vietnam War, My’s family qualified for entry due to her father’s prisoner of war (POW) status. Through the program, the US took in an estimated 125,000 Vietnamese people. My Quyen has been in Knoxville for 28 years.
After working in the accounting field for over 10 years, My Quyen said she never pictured herself becoming a business owner. However, having a “bubble tea obsession,” she told her cousin, who owned a Boba shop in North Carolina, to open one in Knoxville and she would manage it for her. So what started as a bit of a joking conversation in April 2019 soon resulted in My opening her Knoxville Tealicious shop.
My says the hardest part of starting Tealicious as a first-time business owner was not realizing how long it took to order and receive supplies. Establishing the final location was also a struggle. She had anticipated opening on Cumberland Avenue to take advantage of business from college students. But because summertime is the best season for iced Boba drinks, she decided college students may not be the demographic to target for optimal business.
My thought it would be much harder to find staff, but says, “I've been blessed with a really good team,” and she enjoys building relationships with her customers, too. Even during the pandemic, My says the Hardin Valley community has really come out to support local businesses.
Knoxville’s response to Tealicious was, at first, a mix. There were those who knew and loved Boba tea and were excited to have another option. Then there were those who had no idea what it was - but they quickly learned!
Tealicious has several combinations of tea and toppings from which to choose. More popular tea combos include classic milk, brown sugar milk, Thai, strawberry, and taro milk. They also have food items, all Vietnamese, and some from family recipes. Tealicious also partners with local women-owned businesses to provide products for sale, such as Berrylicious, a business that specializes in chocolate goodies, offering chocolate bombs exclusively to Tealicious (Vietnamese espresso, taro, and matcha); Karah DeAnn Designs, supplying stickers and keychains; and DreamWareCo, which designs glass cups.
Tealicious is located at 10720 Hardin Valley Rd in Knoxville, TN. Hours are Monday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., and you can reach them at (865)766-5329.