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December 24, 2013

Opera house work puts shops into flux

Tea room moving, boutique closing temporarily during Delphi project.

DELPHI — Work on renovating the Delphi Opera House is pushing one business to close temporarily and another to move a block away.

Garden Gate Tea House at 107 S. Washington St., in the center storefront below the third-story opera house, will close beginning next week while furnishings and other elements of the tea house are moved to its new location at 101 W. Franklin St., just a few dozen feet up the road.

The tea room’s new location was an antique store for several years before a short-lived wooden toy shop occupied the space, according to Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julia Leahy.

“We’re thrilled that she’s going to be able to continue,” Leahy said.

Owner Denise Strasser, wife of Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser, hopes to reopen the tea room around Jan. 15, 2014.

The move came sooner than Strasser had expected when she opened the tea room in April 2012 — at the time, she had known that opera house renovations would force her to seek a new location, but she’d estimated a wait of at least three years based on the outlook at the time for raising funds for the renovations.

The city’s receipt of a Stellar Communities grant last year put the opera house project — and the tea room’s move — in the fast lane.

The Delphi Preservation Society, which owns the opera house, is in the middle of raising $300,000 to match a $200,000 challenge grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation in Wisconsin. The organization has garnered more than $200,000 toward the match, and has until midyear 2015 to raise the rest, according to Anita Werling, who chairs the DPS Opera House Advisory Board.

Werling anticipates finishing the fundraising long before then because “we really need to be finished off to be able to use this money,” she said. The Jeffris challenge funds can’t be spent until the match is raised.

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