Sipping On a Whole New Concept

Gail Slaughter’s imaginary friend serves very real tea.
Portrait by Rachel Pressley

After retiring as an attorney in New York City and New Jersey for many years, Gail Slaughter discovered an opening for new ownership at Oaks Bed & Breakfast in the small, Western North Carolina town of Saluda. She purchased the Inn and moved south for a new adventure. While strolling Main Street one afternoon, Slaughter saw a vacant space tucked in a line of other shops and restaurants and thought to herself, “What can I do with this space?” She tried to think about something that Saluda was missing, landing on the idea of a tea shop. Soon after, the Inn went up on the market and the vacant space on Main Street came down. Slaughter named her new shop Mewdlic’s. And the name – well – there’s a story for that.

Mewdlic is an interesting name…

Yes! My imaginary friend as a little girl was Mewdlic. He lived in my chifforobe … not in a scary way, though. He even had a seat at the dinner table. My sister kept saying the name for your tea shop should be something personal. One day she called me and yelled, “I’ve got it! Mewdlic’s!” She reminded me of him and I thought, “That’s perfect.” It’s personal, yet different. 

A nice set up at Mewdlic’s.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Would you say a tea shop is similar to a coffee shop?

To me, tea is the opposite of coffee. You sip tea and gulp coffee. But, the atmospheres can be similar. I do serve Pisgah Roasters coffee, but only in an old-fashioned way – black and from a pot. I also don’t do “high tea” and don’t consider this a tea room. It’s much more laid back. My shop serves as a calming environment for working individuals, families, and others alike to come in and relax for a moment. It’s essentially a time out. Sometimes you need that. My official name for the shop is actually, Mewdlic’s Time Out. 

Tell me about the teas you offer.

I have over 50 different teas. One third of them are actually tisanes, or herbal teas – all organic and imported from India and China. I sell herbs by the ounce, including blends and straight teas. I also have carrot cake that is made by a woman locally and muffins, along with other delicatessens. 

So people can sip and shop in here?

There’s quite a wide variety of retail. Spices, teas, elderberry syrups, sprouting seeds and more. My house and kitchen items include moderately priced dishware from places like Mud Pie, Creative Co-Op and Pinky Up. The walls are covered in art from local artists, too. I gather nature-focused works from artists like Julie Arrington. I love her woodland angels that are hung all around the store. Not only can you sip tea, but you can do it while shopping for new décor. 

How has the tea business been going so far in Saluda?

Since I opened last July, locals have embraced it. We have hosted community events, provided teas for organizations in town and even done a few extension services catering tea and bites for other occasions. Who knows, there could be potential for a second shop somewhere nearby in the future. 

Mewdlic’s, 66 E. Main St., Saluda. Facebook: @mewdlics. 828-769-9100. Gail Slaughter and Herbalist Julie Douglas of WildKrafted Kitchen (etsy.com/shop/wildkraftedkitchen), will lead a DIY Fathers Day Gift Making Class June 13, 4-5:30pm. Cost is $10. Visit Mewdlics Facebook page or wildkraftedkitchen.com for more information. 

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