Kinship fills former Blank Space location in downtown Hamilton

Kinship, a home goods and tea shop, opened in downtown Hamilton at the corner of South 3rd and Ludlow streets. Pictured on Friday, July 29, 2022, is owner Cass Ruhlman, who opened in the former Blank Space location earlier this year. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

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Kinship, a home goods and tea shop, opened in downtown Hamilton at the corner of South 3rd and Ludlow streets. Pictured on Friday, July 29, 2022, is owner Cass Ruhlman, who opened in the former Blank Space location earlier this year. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

It was when Cass Ruhlman was studying abroad in England for a semester in college when she learned about real tea.

While she didn’t know it then, that was the start of Kinship, a tea shop and local antiquities and home goods store that opened about six weeks ago in downtown Hamilton. The blend of two types of businesses has been on Ruhlman’s mind for about a year, and she jumped at the chance when the former Blank Space at 220 S. 3rd St. closed earlier this year.

“We pretty much went to everyone,” she said about her tea business. “I do farmers markets, I come to you, I bring the party to you, which I still do. But this way, we’re hoping with having a larger space, a little more flexibility will be nice.”

Before her time in England, the Florida native said the only tea she ever experienced was black with 12 cups of sugar, and was unaware of varieties existed.

She said when studying abroad, the students would be dropped off in little towns, and “you go do your work, and then you’d have hours to waste. Then I’d end up in a tea shop.”

Through her naivete and embarrassment to admit she didn’t know anything about tea, the tea shop owners would bring out a cup of their choosing. She learned tea isn’t just camellia sinensis, known as the tea plant, but it’s all kinds of herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables.

When she came back to the United States, she realized, “No one does what these tiny, cute mom and pop shops do.”

About a dozen years ago, she made her own tea combinations and gave them as Christmas gifts, and when compliment after compliment came, she eventually started her tea business ― from hosting tea parties to teaching people how to make it.

Selling vintage goods at the tea shop was something that added to the uniqueness of the store.

“I pretty much love anything old and vintage, hence the name Antiquity Tea House,” she said.

And everything from the local Ohio and Hamilton antiques to locally sourced herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables, as well as honey, are available at Kinship.

Kinship is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The store is open by appointment only on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. For more information, visit antiquityteahouse.com or email tealadycass@gmail.com.

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