My wife and I opened The Spice Merchant in late November of 1980 in a 400 sq. ft. back end of a storefront. My dad cosigned a loan; we put up everything we had, including our three-legged dog and two St. Louis alley cats, plus a lot of sweat equity, and we began our new adventure. Our ideas for The Spice Merchant came from living 2 1/2 years in St. Louis while attending graduate school at St. Louis University. We spent weekends exploring the cities assorted ethnic groceries and the great Soulard Farmers Market. We looked at a lot of word combinations to develop a store name. We would be selling coffee, tea, and spices, we settled on The Spice Merchant & Company. In six months we moved into the front of the building adding coffee and tea accessories, some gourmet foods and it's been upward from there. In 1984 we purchased a new location closer to downtown. With the help of my father and a fellow retiree from Boeing, we overhauled a 3000 sq. ft. former upholstery shop converting it into a retail store. Over the years we have been blessed with support from our community, one of our early angels was the food editor of our newspaper, Kathleen, who would call to ask about new products, or to borrow something for a photo shoot and always gave us credit. From our beginning we have responded to requests for coffee, tea and other goodies for events sponsored by community organizations.