Takota Consentino, left, and family friend J. Guerra, unload kitchen equipment and furniture of the English Tea Cup, as they move into their new location on Peoria Street.
English Tea Cup owner, Claudia Cosentino, left, with help from her nephew Takota, move some of the furniture from a shipping container into their new store front on Peoria Street. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel
Takota Consentino, left, moves a slab of marble, as his aunt and owner of The English Tea Cup, Claudia Consentino, reacts to him moving the large piece of expensive stone into their new store front, Nov. 1. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Aurora Sentinel
AURORA | The white storage in front of English Teacup’s new home was packed-to-the gills with boxes that once held Picadilly brand British bangers and Cerelac infant formula and other items from the UK that area anglo-philes and ex-pats have long flocked to Aurora for.
But after movers flung open the door and started unloading the container, it became clear the move might not be easy, a common theme for much of the past year at the Teacup.
As owner Claudia Cosentino’s nephew unloaded the items, it was clear many had shifted during the hurried move, leaving some display cases a bit mangled.
But as she has through far more-difficult moments in recent months, Cosentino didn’t let the dings or scratches that come with every move get her down.
“It’s not dead,” she said, eye-balling a display case that didn’t weather the move particularly well. “That can be fixed.”
And with that, the crew of helpers lugged the rest of the 40-year-old store’s merchandise into their new home at the northwest corner of East Iliff Avenue and South Peoria Street, just a short distance east of their old home at East Jewell Avenue and South Havana Street.
The store has been an Aurora icon for years, and owners hope to keep it that way at their new location.
The plan is for the store to open by Nov. 11 and the kitchen to re-open sometime a few weeks after that, Cosentino said.
Having the new store is exciting, she said, but getting here has been rough.
In July, Cosentino’s father, Gerald, the store’s long-time owner, died. Then this fall the new landlords at the old shopping center told Cosentino that they weren’t renewing the long-time shop’s lease.
If all that wasn’t enough, just a day before she signed the new lease, Cosentino’s husband was hospitalized.
“I almost gave up,” Cosentino said as the crews moved into the new shop last week. “I was ready to quit, I was ready to not do this.”
But knowing how important the store is to the longtime customers, and how important it was to her father, she said she couldn’t just let the Teacup go.
“They’ve supported me very well and they’ve been there for me,” she said of the store’s loyal cadre of customers. “They loved my dad, absolutely adored him.”
Cosentino said she isn’t sure exactly what happened with the old location, just that the landlord didn’t want to renew Teacup and seemed to have another business lined up to take their spot.
The shop wasn’t the only longtime business at the shopping center to leave in recent months. Earlier this year Whisper’s piano bar closed up shop as well, according to the Havana Business Improvement District. The longtime Aurora nightspot has since moved to a new location a few blocks away at 1535 S. Havana St.
Cosentino said when she set out to move she didn’t want to go far.
“We didn’t want to be too far from our customers,” she said, noting that many didn’t even know the shop was closing until after they’d closed the old spot and moved out.
The move has been busy but Cosentino said she is excited about getting the shop and restaurant back up and running.
Plus, she said she is setting aside space for a tribute inside to her dad.
“That’s going to be really, really nice,” she said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story called Gerald Cosentino the store’s founder. Jeanne Fox founded the store and later sold it to Cosentino.