Bubble tea shop to open on Main Street in January

by Lorraine Liu | 11/16/20 2:10am

bubble-tea-location
by Lorraine Liu / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

A new bubble tea store — 4U Bubble Tea — will make its debut in Hanover in January 2021, becoming the only bubble tea business in town after the closure of The Swirl & Pearl in March. The store, which will open at the underground location on Main Street previously occupied by My Brigadeiro, will feature different flavors of bubble tea and Asian snacks.

4U owner Janice Zheng, who ran a Mobil gas station in White River Junction, Vermont until September 2020, said that she is looking forward to reintroducing the popular drink — which features tea combined with chewy tapioca balls — to Hanover.

“Personally, I love bubble tea so much,” Zheng said. “Bubble tea is not just a beverage — you can eat and drink [it] at the same time, the bubble[s] [are] so chewy, [and] I really want to recommend those drinks to everybody.”

Zheng said that the store will serve different flavors of bubble tea including mango, strawberry and sakura rose. Customers will be able to customize their drinks with cold or hot tea and add chewy tapioca balls or popping bubbles as toppings. Zheng added that she plans to set up a corner in the store to sell snacks imported from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, since they have sold well at Oriental Wok Express.

Zheng said that the bubble tea shop will operate as a take-out business during the COVID-19 pandemic, and customers will be able to order either online or in store. No tables will be set up for the opening, and the store will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Connie Zhang ’22, who plans to live on campus in the winter, said she thinks ordering bubble tea will be “a fun way” to connect with friends while enjoying something she likes to drink.

“I’m excited to see what the new place will bring, what kind of flavors it will have, how authentic or how real it’ll be,” Zhang said. “And I think everyone would be really excited about it.”

Zheng said that although the pandemic creates challenges to opening a new business, she thinks it also brings opportunities because prior to the pandemic, she found it “really hard” to find empty space to rent.

Zheng said that she will target students as her main customer group, citing bubble tea’s popularity among young people. She said that to advertise her store, she will need to rely on word-of-mouth to help promote the beverage in town.

Jay Campion, the landlord for the space the new shop will occupy, said that to help Zheng enhance her store’s presence, he plans to have LED lights installed on the stairs that lead down to the store, increase the illumination outside during the evening and put up a sandwich board sign at the top of the stairs leading down to the shop. 

Zheng said she is currently putting in a new floor, painting the interior of the store and working on the menu, which she estimated she will finish in December. Overall, she is optimistic about her store’s business prospects.

“I just feel so confident that people will like [bubble tea] after they taste it,” she said. “I just have a good feeling about it.”

Correction appended (Nov. 25, 2020): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Zheng also owned Oriental Wok Express in West Lebanon. The article has been updated to reflect that Zheng formerly ran a Mobil gas station in White River Junction.