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July 26, 2014

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Andy and Gayle Barth stand in front of the large assortment of bulk spices at their new Spice and Tea Exchange store in Blowing Rock. Photo by Jeff Eason

Originally published: 2014-02-14 08:55:01
Last modified: 2014-02-14 08:55:46

Downtown spiced up

A new kind of gourmet retailer has moved to Blowing Rock.

The Spice & Tea Exchange is now located at 1087 Main St. in the heart of downtown.

The Spice & Tea Exchange is a unique gourmet retailer focused on bringing a world of spices, teas and unique custom blends to at-home cooks, connoisseurs and professional chefs alike.

At The Spice & Tea Exchange, guests are encouraged to “come in and smell the spices” and adventure through rustic product displays, while watching spice masters create handmade blends in store.

Reminiscent of an 18th century trading post, with wood floors and beams, the store’s interior boasts jar-lined shelves filled with spices, teas and gourmet gifts.

The Spice & Tea Exchange carries more than 70 exclusive hand-mixed blends. Store guests also have an abundance of products to choose from, with more than 120 spices, 12 naturally flavored sugars, 24 salts from around the world and more than 30 exotic teas.

To complement the spice and tea selections, the store offers recipes, gift boxes and accessories. In addition, educational information can be found on its website and blog.

New franchise owners Andy and Gayle Barth have been longtime customers of The Spice & Tea Exchange, following a visit to the original store in St. Augustine, Fla. In their travels, the Barths discovered other locations and were “always impressed with the quality and freshness of (the)  products and the diverse selection of proprietary blends.”

Now, they’re bringing this interactive experience to the Blowing Rock community. The Barths said they believe their selection of whole spices, teas and specialty ingredients will directly complement the area’s awareness and desire for “high-quality foods.”

Although they opened their doors for business last week, a grand opening event is planned for late spring.

The Spice and Tea Exchange’s hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The store is closed Wednesday, and hours are subject to change.

The Blowing Rock store marks the 35th franchise of The Spice & Tea Exchange in the United States and the third one in North Carolina.

For more information, call (828) 372-7070, email ( or visit

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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