Editor’s note: In its May 15, 2024, edition, the Sun Times News included a special “Discover Tecumseh” section. It contains articles describing many of the businesses and community life in this charming town. We’re running the articles online and encourage you to add a trip to Tecumseh to your list of fun things to do this summer.

The British Tea Garden is not just a business but a cherished local establishment under the stewardship of twin sisters Gemma Riddle and Alice Williams. Born and raised in England, the sisters moved to the U.S. at age 16 and have since endeared themselves into the hearts of the community through their beloved tea garden.

“We moved here at 16, and it was that same year that the garden opened. Our mom would bring us in, and it felt like home,” Alice says, recalling the comfort the tea garden provided during their transition to a new country.

After years of working at the establishment and building a familial bond with both the staff and patrons, the opportunity to own the British Tea Garden presented itself. “Rochelle [the former owner] approached us about taking over, and it just felt natural. It was meant to be,” Alice explains.

Describing the nature of their establishment, Gemma adds, “We’ve always been more than a café; with the gift shop, banquet room, and catering services, we really can’t pin down what we are in just one category.”

Now, five years into their ownership, the sisters are deeply embedded in community life. “It’s such a great, small community and a destination town. It’s thriving,” Alice notes.

Additionally, the connection with their customers is a source of pride and joy. “Half of them are strangers when they first come, but they do become friends. They support us, and we appreciate that so much,” Alice explains. This sense of community is central to their business philosophy, with Alice emphasizing, “That’s the best part—building relationships with people who not only enjoy their time here but come back to see us and have a good time.”

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