It’s Always Tea Time at Swayé
Step aside, coffee. In fact, step aside everything, from pharmaceuticals to energy drinks and supplements. This is a job for tea.
Holistic, organic solutions are what motivated business owners Shiree and Aisha Henry to open their store, Swayé Tea, at 7326 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis, next door to Aggie’s Bakery.
“I always liked tea,” says Shiree, who credits her tea-drinking nature to her grandmother, “and then I figured I can buy ingredients and make it myself.”
Swayé means “to heal” in Haitian Creole. Shiree took her health into her own hands while living on base in Virginia Beach, as her wife, Aisha, is a U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic. Shiree has suffered from severe acid reflux since 2002, and during that time, was limited to only visiting the physicians on base, who were often overbooked. “It was hard to get in for any specialty care,” explains Shiree, “and military personnel came first. It took so long to get appointments, so I thought, ‘I’m going to heal myself.’”
The Best Things in Life are Pharm-Free
Shiree and Aisha are passionate about helping people to help themselves—without pharmaceuticals.
“That’s why we created Swayé Tea,” says Shiree. “If we can help someone not have to take an extra Tylenol® a day, or not have to take use asthma pump three times a day—the cost of which is astronomical—we’re helping them.”
Shiree is not only self-taught, she’s also formally educated in holistic medicine, and is currently studying to become a Master Herbalist and Holistic Health Practitioner. She believes that teaching people the benefit of herbs, and how to use them, will help to mitigate health issues. “If we can teach one person,” says Shiree, “then that person will teach someone else, who will teach someone else, and so on. Everybody had that auntie or grandmother or cousin who never got sick. And when you were sick, you went to their house and they would tell you to go to the cabinet and take something that tastes absolutely horrible. But you felt better. And what’s what we’re trying to get back to.”
Tea Blends That Mend
Everything at Swayé Tea is customizable. Though Shiree makes 75% of the tea in her store, she will order blends upon request, and if customers ask for a specific blend that she doesn’t have, she is able to recreate it using her own ingredients.
Currently, she is preparing a Winter Tea, comprised of sage, lime, ginger, clove, hibiscus, and mellow leaf, which has a soothing quality and helps relieve respiratory issues.
Other popular blends include the Hibiscus Mint and Mango Mist. While the Mango Mist is simply a delightful and decaffeinated green tea, the Hibiscus Mint is used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, headaches, and stomach problems.
In addition to organic tea, Swayé also offers salads, sandwiches, and smoothies made in-house. That’s right, no coffee. Although, for coffee drinkers who want to stop drinking coffee, they do have two coffee-inspired tea blends, one of which is caffeinated and one of which isn’t.
Small-Town Feel, Big-Time Support
Shiree and Aisha agree that West Allis is the best location for their business. They enjoy the high-volume traffic and visibility of Greenfield Ave., and have glowing reviews of their neighbors, customers, and the local government staff who helped them make it all happen.
They are especially thankful for the support of Aggie’s Bakery and the West Allis Health Department, as the Health Department granted them a grace period due to an agreement with Aggie’s Bakery who let them use Aggie’s kitchen at the end of the day to clean and sanitize while the kitchen at Swayé was still under construction.
“It’s a small town, but it’s not a small town,” says Shiree. “You get that small-town feeling because everyone knows everybody. They’re all so helpful and I love that.”
What would Shiree say to business owners considering West Allis? “Come on,” she says with a smile.