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Mother Daughter duo opens custom blended tea shop and bookstore in downtown Madras

PMG PHOTO KIVA HANSON - Holli, left, and Nova Papasodora run Black Bird Magical Tales & Tea together. The mother-daughter duo 
decided to open the shop to fill a void in Madras, and provide tea and book recommendations to shop.

In a small storefront on Fifth Street in Madras, Holli Papasodora and her daughter, Nova Papasodora, supply a bevy of herbal tea blends, locally made gifts and fantasy books.

Black Bird Magical Tea & Tales opened in January and has so far received a warm welcome from the Madras community.

"We've had such a great response," said Nova. "We're really enjoying being in downtown Madras."

Holli Papasodora began blending her own teas about five years ago, in a response to her own health problems. She studied herbalism and began making tea blends for friends and family as well. She then began selling the tea blends at farmers markets and on Etsy.

The Papasodoras moved to Madras six years ago from Alaska. After traveling across the country, they decided Madras was a great place to be. One of the only things missing: a tea shop.

PMG PHOTO KIVA HANSON - Holli Papasodora pours a cup of warm tea from her vast tea collection. 
This blend is Winter Sunrise, featuring honeybush, orange peel, 
rosemary and warming spices. The shop always has a pot of tea on, or they can brew you a cup in the shop.

"We'd been talking about opening a physical store for a while, and when this space was available, we decided to jump in and speed up our plan a bit."

The smell of herbs envelops the space, with the aroma of over 50 tea blends lining the walls in large jars. Their shop features a variety of teas, all blended by hand with fresh herbs and leaves by Holli. They feature teas for ailments like a sore throat or period cramps, teas with unique flavors and even teas themed around Hogwarts houses.

Holli blends the teas in the back of the shop, where they also run their online Etsy shop.

"I draw inspiration from what people need, and from our travels," said Holli. "Anytime we travel we try to find a tea shop and we try new flavors, and they inspire new blends."

Black Bird sells tea by weight, in bags and by the cup in their shop, along with the unblended herbs.

PMG PHOTO KIVA HANSON - Holli Papasodora pours her Winter Sunrise tea blend into a bag. The blend features honeybush, orange peel, rosemary and warming spices. The shop constantly has a pot of tea on, and sells their loose tea by weight, or they can brew you a cup in the shop.

Aside from tea, Black Bird also has a collection of books available. The books span the reaches of the fantasy genre, and also include books on herbalism, astronomy and local guides.

"It just made sense to combine the two," said Nova. "Madras didn't have a book shop, so we figured we'd make one here."

Nova is an avid fantasy reader, and both she and her mother have worked in libraries before. While the in-stock books are mainly fantasy, they're happy to order in books for readers.

Amid the aromatic teas and fantasy novels are also a collection of locally made gifts and herbalist supplies. They feature stickers and cards from local artists, knitted witches hats and plenty of tea supplies. The shop also supplies several items they couldn't find in Madras and thought others would enjoy. Their display case has Dungeons and Dragons dice, tumbled stones and incense, things they saw missing from the Madras store scene.

"We want the space to feel slightly magical, but comfortable when people come in," said Holli.

Part of that is connecting with the community through events and outreach. They plan to begin hosting books clubs, partnering with other businesses to host events and participating in Madras's First Thursday events.

The shop is open at 191 SE Fifth St., Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays noon to 5 p.m.

Holli and Nova are excited to continue building their store and sharing their love of tea with Madras. Nova said, "The people here are so welcoming, and we love having everyone in to help them find something they enjoy."


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