Nestled in the heart of downtown Eugene lies a tea house filled with a cast of characters. Townshend’s Tea Co. is a new addition to the recent flourish of downtown. It is lively yet peaceful and everybody looks like they have a story. You will always find someone on their laptop, chatting with friends or reading a book on one of the couches. The velvet, yellow green couches and hanging lamps help create a somewhat modern, antique vibe. Crowds seem to come and go but there is rarely a time when the place is quiet, especially with the soft alternative music on shuffle in the background.
When you walk inside on almost any day of the week you will encounter the fresh faced Claire Bennett to make you one of the many in-house teas. She is the manager of this store and loves being a part of downtown. Bennet grew up in the Rockies before moving to Eugene about twelve years ago. She was looking for a job when her good friend Greg, who had worked for the Townshend Tea Co. for several years, helped her get this position. She liked the idea of a teahouse and could not be happier with the outcome. “I like the idea of doing something where I’m up and around and being active on my feet,” says Bennett. “I also like doing something that feels good to my conscious,” she added. Bennett shines while speaking about her customers and staff making her very easy to like. She lives in a friendly neighborhood that is just a five minute bike ride to work. She previously worked for a shop called “Bike Friday” where she held an office position. “I liked all the people and hanging out with cyclists. It was fun to be a part of the green energy sustainable kind of thing,” says Bennett. Apart from biking and working at the teahouse she also volunteers at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, which is a nature preserve just right outside of town. She is on the board of directors there and previously worked there in 2007. “We do nature education, conservation and stewardship of the site which is a 200 acre reserve…so we take care of all the plants and critters,” says Bennett.
A co-worker of Bennett’s, Litany Deshincoe, who had helped her open the shop about a year ago has nothing but positive thoughts to share about her. She finds her very inspiring due to the fact that she does so much. “She’s a super go getter and is constantly fixing everything..like climbing up on the super tall ladders to fix all the lights. It’s amazing,” Deshincoe says. “She taught me how to sand the tables. I’ve just never met somebody that can do like anything and isn’t afraid to try everything,” she added. Deshincoe rants about how great she is with customers and especially about her sense of humor. Claire Bennett is definitely the type of person you want to get to know.