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“We take pride in the way we maintain our stores. We want them to always be customer-ready.” Shane Morrison, Director, Construction & Maintenance

Shane Morrison says his favorite DAVIDsTEA beverages include Nepal Black, Matcha, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai, and Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait iced tea. “We make it fun and have something for everyone,” he says.

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DAVIDsTEA sells teas from around the world in addition to its tea-making products, tea accessories, and fresh cups of hot or iced tea to go. “It was my interview with cofounder David Segal that really made me want this job,” Morrison says. “He has endless energy, high expectations for his company and the people that work for it—and he supported both in a manner that did not allow you to do anything but succeed.” Today, Morrison is the company’s director of construction and maintenance. He is responsible for the planning and construction of all new stores as well as renovations and maintenance of more than 200 existing stores. He supervises the design, construction, and maintenance staff; develops and manages the annual capital, repair, and maintenance

budgets; negotiates contracts; and manages the company’s national purchasing programs. He also works in conjunction with the company’s real estate team to support the review and approval of new sites. “The real estate team chooses sites based on traditional factors such as demographics, traffic count, and cotenancy—they also spend a lot of time visiting sites to make sure locations have the right feel for DAVIDsTEA,” Morrison explains. Once sites are approved, Morrison’s team takes over and manages projects through completion. Morrison oversees a staff of seven that consists of a store designer, project manager, four maintenance managers, and a department coordinator. “We are all driven, hardworking, and proud to be part of this team,” he says. DAVIDsTEA stores all have a similar look and feel, but each is unique in terms of shape and size. Though the stores run from 500 to 1,400 square feet, most are in the 1,000-square-foot range. About 80 percent of store locations are in malls, with the rest in street-front locations or lifestyle centers. “Each store has three unique focal points— our iconic tea wall (where our tea tins are displayed), our merchandise wall, and our beverage station,” Morrison says. “The design is clean, bright, and inviting. Our marketing/ merchandising team seasonally launches whimsical new patterns for our packaging and hard goods. The stores are designed in a way that allows our merchandise to be the shining star.” The first DAVIDsTEA store opened on Queen Street in Toronto in 2008. Morrison’s team is on pace to add about 40 new stores in 2016, and recently started renovating the organization’s first stores by cleaning, painting, doing repairs, and updating the aesthetics. “We take pride in the way we maintain our stores,” he says. “We want them to always be customer-ready.” Morrison recently faced an interesting challenge at the company’s Mall of America location. “Our store is on the main floor above [an] aquatic life tank,” he says. “We have a considerable amount of below-slab plumbing in our stores, and access to install our waste piping was nerve-racking to say the least. Imagine being a plumber on a scaffold connecting pipes to the slab above you while a 12-foot shark swims a few feet below you. Our design team and GC worked closely with mall management to develop a layout and plan that

Photos: Steph Polic

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American Builders Quarterly #63