Get Downtown to XTEA

I know my destination, but as I walk purposefully down the sidewalk (glancing at doorways and signs, a little tickled that I probably appear to be a tourist in my home and birthplace) I realize I've gone too far and double back to find the entrance to A Second Look, which houses a little sign on the right confirming I'm where I want to be.


This is the entrance to Zen Design, and more to my purpose today: XTEA.



I haven't been here before and I walk apprehensively down the stairs not entirely sure what's at the bottom, or where I'll have to go from here, but a friendly voice calls to me

"You're in the right place! Come on down!" 

And a cozy set of chairs in front of a fireplace come into view.

A comfortably lit lounge is on my right, but the voice has come from my left where a bright, gorgeous kitchen and rich herbal aroma are welcoming me.

Here is Zenia Horton. She's a studious looking character. Hip eyeglasses and professional attire, sitting at a low counter with kitchen specs neatly laid out in front of her. I can't help but feel a little admiration (and perhaps a bit of jealousy) that this level of design is not among my talents.

Zenia has been designing exquisite kitchen spaces for over 20 years, exhibiting a gallery that would make most turn excitedly to their own kitchens and eye it up for potential improvements. She's also the Vice President of the Kitchener-Waterloo Business Women's Association, and Co-Chair of the Downtown Kitchener BIA. But it's her latest endeavour that's currently piquing my interest.

As Zenia soon tells me, she deliberated for years about how to forge in a new direction that would complement her kitchens, and maintain the meaningful connections she develops with clients over the months she spends diligently designing and installing the new heart of their home. It's clear that she appreciates and invests a lot of herself in these relationships. She wants to find a creative way to sustain it.


Which makes tea such a perfect and natural progression.

Much like Zen Design, XTEA is about quality at every step. Zenia selects premium organic teas produced and sold according to fair trade standards. She even works to produce custom blends to suit individual tastes. The result is a selection of beautiful, and aromatic blends tastefully packaged and sure to be relished.

Her dedication to quality is an integral element in what Zenia hopes to foster with XTEA- the kinship that occurs when we sit down together to a good cup of tea.

XTEA CO. has positioned itself harmoniously in line with Zenia's Zen. She has a highly creative process that ultimately values treating people fairly, using quality products, and honouring authentic connections.

When I leave Zenia to go back to her specs- after discussing our families, our personal paths, our philosophies- I take with me a deeper appreciation for our local merchants. This is, after all, not the type of connection I've ever had (or ever will I wager) with any chain, or 'super' store. This is an authentic bond to someone with a profound investment in our community.

Another compelling reason to #GetDowntown.

On facebook? Find XTEA CO. by clicking here.