Leukemia Survivor Hopes New Tea Shop Will Serve As Refuge

By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4) – A new tea shop and bookstore opened on Saturday in Denver near 22nd and Welton Streets.

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It’s the culmination of a dream by Risë Jones, a Leukemia survivor.

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“We want to be the place where you want to come check in, when you want to have a calm place to just relax, talk to people that you know, have that comfort and slow down your pace,” said Jones.

Opening the business in the neighborhood she grew up in turned out to be a years-long process with many challenges and delays along the way.

“When you believe in yourself, you can’t be rooted out. You just have to continue to believe in yourself and tune out a lot of the noise,” said Jones.

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Her husband and co-owner Louis Freeman believed in Jones every step of the way. He shares the hope that their tea shop can be a refuge.

“When they leave they should be able to have, for a moment, caught a breath that gave them the strength to go out and continue the fight which is inevitable the moment you walk into their world,” said Freeman.

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They also hope their presence as African-American business owners can stem the tide of gentrification and once again provide a clear, diverse voice in Denver’s Five-points neighborhood.

“This community is us. The evidence of us is everywhere, and we’re the bad grass that’s going to keep coming up through the concrete,” Jones said.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.