Business Spotlight: The Spice & Tea Exchange

Kathleen McGowan

As one of the newest business owners on Fifth Avenue South, Kathleen McGowan and her daughter, Kayle Allen, opened The Spice & Tea Exchange in 2017.

After serving as a reading teacher in Southwest Iowa, Kansas City, and Oklahoma “for too many years to count”, Kathleen officially relocated to Naples with Kayle’s family in2015.

Kathleen stumbled upon The Spice & Tea Exchange in Key West and knew that Fifth Avenue South would be a perfect fit for its 18th century trading post design and high-quality products.

“We have had quite the first year in business. We opened our doors only about a month prior to Hurricane Irma and it was really stressful not knowing when, or even if, the shop would be able to reopen,” said Kathleen. “

Since recovering from the hurricane, our biggest challenge is keeping our supply of fresh blends of teas, sugars, salts, and spices fully stocked for our guests. Owning a small business isn’t for the faint at heart. It may not be what some people think of as “retirement,” but I love being busy and take pride in what that hard work produces.”

Kayle considers the best part of being located on Fifth Avenue South, the people. “Our guests are interesting, engaging folks from all over the world,” said Kayle. “It is always fun to share ideas for using our spices and blends, talk about different types of teas, or just catch up with our locals who frequent the shop.”

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