One stretch of Cody Road in LeClaire has been dubbed Libations Lane since a winery, brewery and distillery are all within a short walk of each other.
A coffee shop -- Jones Street Java House -- is just up the hill.
According to Anthony and April Flanigan, there was one libation missing: tea.
That’s why the couple opened Royal-Tea earlier this month at 316 N. Cody Road just across the street from the Green Tree Brewery.
When you walk in, Anthony and April will tell you the shop is stocked with 47 loose-leaf types of tea to take in a to-go cup or enjoy in a mug at a long table or cozy chairs surrounded by tea accessories and local artwork. Customers can also purchase 1 ounce or four ounce tins of tea to brew at home.
“We can give it to you and send you on your way,” Anthony said. “It’s also a place to sit down and stay and relax.”
The options include dark chocolate peppermint, Earl Grey creme, passionfruit, pumpkin chai and a coffee-infused cinnamon fig variety called “Wake the Fig Up.”
Don’t know what kind you prefer?
“Explore with your nose,” Anthony said, opening one of the tins that reads Happy Tea.
“We like introducing people to tea,” his wife said. “There’s so many to choose from. I could never pick a favorite.”
In the next sentence, the couple will introduce you to the mission behind each cup of tea.
Money made at Royal-Tea, which is run by volunteers, goes toward local and global mission work and charities.
The 1,500-square-foot establishment is directly adjacent to Riverside Foursquare Church, where Anthony is a pastor and where the couple and their two children live.
About six months ago, Anthony and April, who teaches in Clinton and leads youth ministry at Riverside, got the idea to renovate the church-owned property next door, which was formerly used as residences.
They prayed about it. And they decided to open the tea shop as a nonprofit.
“We also prayed to be aware of the times we live in,” said Anthony, who uses Royal-Tea as his office during the week. “Tea culture is going to be growing here.”
As for the name, they were inspired by a verse in the Bible -- 1 Peter 2:9 -- which in part reads, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.”
“Part of the idea is when you come in here, you are royalty,” he said. “You are part of the shop. You’re part of sending help around the globe. You’re part of the mission.”
They see Royal-Tea as one of the church’s sub-ministries.
“It’s not like the bake sales that pay for the programs,” he said. “You’re buying tea that is going to help the world.”
So far, the tea shop has committed to raising money for Compassion International and Gospel Asia. Gift items for purchase around the store, such as T-shirts, artwork, quilts and knit hats, have been donated to the cause.
Even with prayer, Anthony and April, who have been married 11 years, say the tea shop isn’t without risks.
“That’s kind of what we do,” April said. “We’re risk takers.”
The couple moved to LeClaire four-and-a-half years ago from central Wisconsin to rehabilitate Riverside Foursquare Church. They visited the small town over a weekend and fell in love with it.
When they first moved here, Anthony was interested in opening a coffee shop. He had studied coffee for years.
Instead, he focused on growing the church, which now has 50 members. In the meantime, he played around with new recipes in his home kitchen, which he realized later could be applied to brewing tea.
He and April got involved in community events such as putting on the Witches Walk Costume Parade.
“We do want to focus on the downtown here,” she said. “This is another place people can stop by to warm up.”
Along the way, they thought of ways the church could have a bigger impact.
“A question for every small church is how do to reach the ends of the earth?” Anthony said. “When your eyes are opened to the poverty in this world, you find ways to give. We don’t have a lot, but we have a little. When you have a little, you have enough to give.”
As April said, Royal-Tea is a gathering place for the community.
“It reminds us all of ‘Friends,’ and Central Perk,” she said referring to the popular TV show. “We all want that place to go meet up with friends.”
It’s also a place to reach the world.
“Now the church and tea shop are both here,” Anthony added. “They’re here to serve the city.”