Bartlesville Radio » News » HTeaO Development Assistance Heads to City Council

The Bartlesville Development Authority approves a recommendation to the Bartlesville City Council to allocate $37,264 in development assistance to HTeaO.

Chris Batchelder, the BDA’s Vice President of Business Development, says the funds would come from the Economic Development Fund for construction of the store under the Retail Incentive Program. Batchelder says the BDA is doing this through the non-targeted brand side of things. He says the BDA is excited to help HTeaO get set up and ready to go because they know the Bartlesville community is going to love having the new business in town.

HTeaO is an ultra-premium, life-style brand offering tea, water, ice, fruit and YETI retail products. HTeaO also offers a line of auxiliary retail food items including Cliff Bar, Kind Bar, Clint & Sons Beef Jerky, Pop chips, Boulder chips, and Project 7. Customers can purchase products inside the store or via the drive through option.

Batchelder says they are pumped to welcome HTeaO to the Bartlesville community. He says HTeaO has been rapidly expanding through Oklahoma and Texas. In fact, HTeaO currently has 35 stores in Texas, four in Oklahoma, and one each in Florida and Kansas. The brand’s aggressive expansion plans include nine additional stores in Texas, Oklahoma and Clovis, New Mexico. HTeaO was named to Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private companies in the United States for 2018.

The new addition will be established at the corner of Price Road and Highway 75. Batchelder says HTeaO will be a perfect fit as the Highway 75 corridor continues to develop in Bartlesville. He says the store will match well with new businesses such as Scholtsky’s, Scooter’s Coffee, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Bricktown Brewery (opening on the horizon), and a soon-to-be rebuilt Wendy’s along Washington Boulevard.

HTeaO began in 2009 in Amarillo, Texas and opened under the name of Texas Tea in response to the increasing demand for flavored iced tea being sold out of Gary Hutchens hamburger store, Buns Over Texas. As the demand for the flavored iced tea continued to rise, Texas Tea opened a second Amarillo location in 2013 as a standalone tea store. These two locations have achieved cult like status in the Amarillo area and the idea to expand became the focus due to the success of Texas Tea. Gary Hutchens stepson, Justin Howe, began the process of turning Texas Tea into a franchise. Over the last five years he has launched a corporate model to expand Texas Tea into a nationwide leader of premium tea and water.

Last summer, prospective franchisee, Layne Jones, approached the BDA about development assistance for a potential location in Bartlesville, specifically the tract at the northeast corner of Highway 75 and Price Road. While the addition of a new, rising brand on that high-traffic corner was recognized as highly-beneficial, there was no precedent for a “targeted brand” designation as the concept was launched after BDA’s market research concluded.

Thus, based on Bartlesville’s established incentive policy for General Merchandise and the store’s projected sales, total development assistance would top-out between $30,000-$40,000 (subject to actual average store sales history) payable upon Certificate of Occupancy. Jones was advised that his concept appeared to qualify in all respects but would require formal approval from both BDA’s Trustees and the Bartlesville City Council. Jones elected to move forward with the property purchase.

The BDA approved the item unanimously on Thursday morning. The $37,264 in development assistance to HTeaO will be considered by the Bartlesville City Council at City Hall, located at 401 S. Johnstone Avenue, on Monday, June 6, at 7:00 pm

As for HTeaO, construction could begin as soon as possible with the hope of opening in late 2022.

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