December 17, 2011

First colony loses a century-old tea company

I had not known about Bencheley Tea before seeing several canisters in a display beside the register at a local grocery store.  PR Newswire reported that the company is "renowned for its high quality teas with varieties that range from exotic, including Bencheley® "French Vanilla" and "Cherry Almond" to more traditional blends like Bencheley® "English Breakfast" and "Earl Grey" teas."  Bencheley Tea was purchased by White Coffee Company on December 1, 2011 and executive vice president of the White Coffee Corporation Jonathan White stated that "Bencheley has a loyal following and an excellent reputation in the specialty tea industry."  (You can read the entire press release at White Coffee Corporation Acquires Bencheley Tea from First Colony Coffee & Tea Company.)

White Coffee Company is based in Long Island City, NY and was started in 1939.  Bencheley Tea is a product of First Colony Coffee & Tea Company of Norfolk, VA (formerly the James G. Gill Company) which was founded in 1902.  First Colony Coffee & Tea Company sold its coffee brand to White Coffee Company in August 2011.  The First Colony Coffee website consists of only a single page with a message from the company's president of which the first half is excerpted below:

It is with great sadness we announce that First Colony Coffee & Tea Company has moved to undergo a corporate restructure.

As a result of the restructure effective immediately all sales, manufacturing and shipping operations have been ceased at our Norfolk, VA. facility. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding.

From our beginnings in 1902 as the James G. Gill Company, and later the First Colony Coffee and Tea Company, it has truly been both an honor and a privilege to partner with and serve our customers. We would also like to thank the entire First Colony employee family, past and present, for their 110 years of dedicated craftsmanship allowing us to deliver the finest coffees and teas to our loyal customers.

Bruce Grembowitz
First Colony Coffee and Tea Company

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