Tea and Magnolias Offers Unique Southern Charm
By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
THOUGHTFUL GIFTS: Tea and Magnolias has an array of unique gifts as well as having plenty of hospitality. Susan Ponville and her daughter Jamie enjoy welcoming guests into the shop.
KELSY LORIN TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers
While stepping into Tea and Magnolias, one feels like they are being welcomed into a charming southern setting. Susan Ponville has brought her memories of growing up in Tupelo, Miss. together to create this unique gift shop.
Mississippi has been characterized as the hospitality state. “My grandmothers, aunt and mother were very welcoming. An open place at their tables was always kept for guests. There was such a feeling of community there between church friends and neighbors.”
The name Tea and Magnolias is, of course, a nod to southern hospitality. “I wanted it to be a place where everyone could relax and enjoy themselves. I wanted it to create a feeling of sipping iced tea in a gentile southern setting surrounded by magnolias. The name evolved from there.”
Tea and Magnolias first opened five years ago at RiverWalk in Jenks. “We were located there for three years and eventually outgrew our space. We moved to Regal Plaza one year ago in September and I love it here.”
One of the first things that guests notice when entering the shop is the fragrance, explains Ponville. “The next thing that they usually notice is our shop kitty named Chamomile that greets everybody.”
The shop features some of the most unique items around. “The new environmentally friendly line, Mixture House, is very unique. At this time, we are the only shop in the state of Oklahoma that carries the line. There are votives, linen sprays, pillow mists and laundry detergents. It is a fun brand with a lot of different fragrances.”
Although there are treasures around every corner in the shop, one of the most popular items is the Pelican Bay Tea. Tea is served to guests as they linger around. “Another popular item is the Root Candle. The company has been around since the 1800s and has soy candles that burn very clean. We also have limited edition Mark Roberts fairies that are very collectable.”
One of the rewards of opening Tea and Magnolias, explains Ponville, has been reaching out to others. “We want to be a little shop with purpose because we try to give back to the community. One of the products that we have is made in Peru by poverty stricken families. All of the proceeds from the product go back to help these ladies. Tea and Magnolias affords us to be a blessing to others and to give back.”
The fortunate feeling of having created a shop that she had envisioned and getting to know those in the community has meant a lot to Ponville. “The very first day of opening at the RiverWalk location, we held a blessing and prayed about the store. I have felt that blessing everyday since.”
To celebrate the holiday season, Tea and Magnolias will be holding a Christmas Open House on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. “Leonard Mountain, Inc. will have tastings with soups, dips, olives and all sorts of good foods during the event.”
Tickets for a tour of Ponville’s holiday themed home will be available for five dollars. “Everyone can look at the decorations, mingle and enjoy some tea there.” All of the proceeds from the event will be donated to Kirk of the Hill’s Pathways, which is a continuing education program for adults with special needs.
A new program called “The Tea and Magnolias Bag Ladies” will begin after Thanksgiving. “After so many purchases, guests will receive a beautifully woven Tea and Magnolia’s embroidered shopping tote.” These bag ladies will then receive special invitations to events throughout the year.
The future looks bright for Tea and Magnolias. Ponville hopes to continue to reach out to the community and to provide a welcoming and unique experience for guests.
For more information or to browse through Tea and Magnolias items online, visit www.teaandmagnolias.com.