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North Knoxville tea shop holds treasure trove of 1982 World's Fair memorabilia

Tonya Rea's Teas and Remedies is the only tea shop of its kind in Knoxville with a focus on herbalism. They also have a bunch of stuff from the 1982 World's Fair.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — If there's one thing that Tonya Henrichs loves, it's tea.

"It's just an easy healthy drink that people can make at home or come into the shop and enjoy," she said.

That's why she opened Tonya Rea's Teas and Remedies in North Knoxville after studying herbalism and wanting to share her passion with others.

"We definitely are the only one like this in Knoxville," she said.

But if there's another thing Tonya loves maybe more than tea, it's the 1982 World's Fair.

"I was nine years old when the fair came to town," said Tonya. "I grew up in Grainger County, so I'm just this, you know, little farm girl all out in the country. So to be able to come to Knoxville and see the world basically come to Knoxville was just a big deal to me."

It was a big enough deal that a section of her tea shop is dedicated to the fair.

"Our shop is vintage themed and I love vintage because everything has a story," said Tonya. "And so with the World's Fair, it's like I know there are so many stories."

RELATED: Knoxville Shoebox | The World's Fair collection

A shirt with the Budweiser Clydesdales was a gift from a customer, as was a visor with the fair logo.

But a lot of her memorabilia is from her family's time at the fair.

She got old beer steins and signs from her grandpa, as well as a slew of World's Fair beer cans.

"Believe it or not, there's still some beer in there. I wouldn't recommend drinking them," said Tonya.

She's got World's Fair playing cards, a tote bag, glasses, and the memorabilia keeps coming.

RELATED: 1982 World's Fair anniversary events scheduled through the summer

"I treasure it. And I think that's why people trust to give it to me because they know that I'm going to appreciate it and love it and just know that the story is there and it's going to continue on," said Tonya.

So if you stop by Tonya Rea's for a tea, expect tasty and beautiful creations, local baked goods, a vintage feel where you can pick your own thrifted mug or glass, and sit and admire a little blast from the past.

"If somebody's having a bad day, I just want them to be able to walk in the shop, they feel good already and then drink a special tea and just take in the goodness that the shop has to offer," said Tonya.

Tonya Rea's is open Wednesdays through Saturdays at 1328 Buchanan Avenue off North Broadway.

She's always accepting more World's Fair swag for her collection.

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