GENEVA — MighTea Boba owners Trevor and Carol Grover have been sharing Geneva Gelato products alongside their bubble tea offerings for quite some time in Canandaigua.
Now they’re sharing space in Geneva Gelato on Exchange Street downtown.
Such arrangements are a growing trend in fast-food circles, and the Grovers, who live in Canandaigua, think it could work for small business owners such as themselves as well.
Next to Geneva Gelato owner Jeff Kovac’s counter you’ll see one for MighTea Boba, where the Grovers mix up their Thai-style tea drinks that are becoming more popular by the day.
The Grovers’ relationship with Geneva Gelato began when they were searching to bring the frozen dessert, popular in Italy, into their shop in Roseland Plaza in Canandaigua.
“We tried others, but theirs is the best,” said Carol Grover, who works as a CPA when not managing the business with her husband.
The business relationship took another step when the two businesses teamed up to serve gelato and bubble tea around the holidays at Waterloo Premium Outlets in Seneca County.
Excited to get into the Geneva market, but not ready to commit to a long-term lease of their own, the couple and Kovacs devised a space-sharing arrangement in which the Grovers pay a portion of the rent.
“No one wants to sign a five-year lease,” said Carol Grover. “You want to see how it’s going to work.”
Trevor Grover, whose other job is at Gould Pumps in Seneca Falls, cited the high cost of doing business in New York — including the recently increased minimum wage — as reasons why small businesses need to find ways to compete.
But they said such an arrangement needs to be with the right people.
“Jeff’s an upstanding person. We’ve become friends,” said Trevor. “This could be a hell of a business model.”
The couple said they opened MighTea Boba in Canandaigua in 2017 after falling in love with the drink while visiting a daughter who was attending Daemen College in Buffalo.
Bubble tea, they said, originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s and is named for the tapioca pearls, or boba, that settle at the bottom of the cup. They noted that bubbles also form on the top of the drink after it is shaken. You can also order a drink with popping pearls.
Trevor said they “love the look of people’s faces” when they take their first slurp on the straw, which has wider dimensions to accommodate those chewy, sweet pearls.
All the products used to make the drinks — except for the green tea — come from Taiwan, they said.
The couple said they know that many people have never tried to the drink.
“[Trying it] is an education,” said Trevor Grover. “Once they buy one they’re hooked… the combinations of flavors are endless.”
The MightTea Boba location in Geneva does not have the full lineup of products that it does in Canandaigua, at The Windmill in Barrington, Yates County, or in their mobile trailer because the Grovers don’t want to duplicate what Kovac offers, such as coffees and baked goods.
If this works out, said the Grovers, it’s possible the two businesses could team up in other places.
“It’s something we want to explore,” said Trevor Grover.
“I like the idea of small business owners coming together and helping each other,” said Carol Grover.
Kovac thinks the space-sharing arrangement could work.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a nice mix.”