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The St. James Tearoom Overview

The St. James Tearoom aims to be a truly counter-cultural force in our city. We intentionally strive to cultivate Community and Connection between people, using our 4-star-rated Afternoon Tea dining experience, our theme-focused Special Events, and even our Market, one of the finest boutique gift shops in Albuquerque. We provide a space to unplug from the age of social media, where some might struggle with loneliness and isolation without face-to-face connections. We allow our guests to deeply connect with each other, to grow old relationships and to make new ones, to find sanctuary from a hectic world. We celebrate life with our guests, mourn when they mourn, and relish one of the things that makes life worth living—relationships!

As owner Mary Alice Higbie explains it, our determined purpose is to run our business in such a way that it encourages every person who comes through our doors, whether it be employees, guests, or vendors, to be intentional in 'infusing meaning and significance into others’ lives" and connecting with them in meaningful, flourishing ways.

"The Purpose of The St. James Tearoom is to act as a catalyst for change in our society, toward a return to Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence. We do this by Valuing, Honoring, and Appreciating each and every guest we are blessed to serve through the art of tea by providing an excellent product, in a timely manner, with care and concern.”
"We are a Capability company, and our unique capability is: Teaching and Modeling to others how to Value, Honor, and Appreciate People."
"We will use the St. James tea experience to delight and elevate our guests, inspiring them toward embracing Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence, and incorporating them into their lives. We want them to leave our tearoom completely blessed, encouraged, and feeling valued.”
Additional Culture Details
"Start with employees first. If your employees are happy and flourishing, then it will by definition trickle down into every guest interaction, and they will likewise become happy and flourishing. But it all starts with your employees." (Daniel Higbie)

"Courtesy, civility, and service are the very oil that makes the gears of society turn smoothly—all our interactions are made more pleasant, so that life is not a constant battle of overcoming one jarring encounter after another. It is the OIL that smooths, softens, and that allows separate and unique entities (and people) to mesh and work together." (Mary Alice Higbie)
Grace: "Grace is a person’s good pleasure which must bestow benefits on others. It is generosity lived out in the nitty-gritty of daily life, and it always springs out of Abundance. The impoverished heart grasps, it does not give. Grace has an abundance to give freely, both to those who deserve and those who do not, and it is inclined to do so. Justice gives what is deserved. Mercy does not give what is deserved. But Grace, in extravagant generosity, gives what is not deserved."
Civility: "The word civility comes from the Latin word civitas, which means city - individuals, living, working, and moving in proximity. It is all about Community. Civility knows it is not the only one, that others are also important. It takes them into account and gives them value. It is not self-seeking and exclusive, but has a humble understanding that individuals need each other and must work together. Civility is inclusive and neighborly; in fact, ‘neighborliness’ can be a synonym for ‘civility’."
Beauty: "We are bombarded with the brash, the mediocre, the cheap, the shoddy, and the trifling. Often we wade in the unlovely, unsightly, and loud. True Beauty fills a deep longing that is integral to the human heart, and is necessary to its flourishing. True Beauty is not a thing to be possessed so much as a gift to bestow, a means of honoring others and enriching their lives. In a world often filled with chaos and suffering, Beauty can lift our eyes to things above, beyond. Beauty may become a means of shaping a more winsome world."
Gentility: "In a world apt to honor Push and praise Shove, gentleness is a rare virtue indeed. Often ignored or diminished in our day of high pressure, force, and coercion, Gentility is yet as powerful as a small stream of water, which can undermine a strong wall or cut a pathway through a mountain of granite. It is not loud, rough, or belligerent, but quietly and courteously can stand its ground with strength and assurance, without bluster and noise."
Excellence: "Excellence is a pursuit, an ongoing exertion toward the highest, the best, the unsurpassed that shudders at the epithet ‘Mediocre.’ It is a resounding shout to move ever ‘Onward and Upward!’ In relentless exertion, Excellence has an eye that sees the whole, and sees every detail, too. It CARES and cares zealously, not so much for applause, but for service. The highest form of Excellence is motivated by a desire to give its very best!"
Albuquerque, NM
68 US Employees
Fine Dining/ Special Events


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