Auburn matcha business Whimsy expands, opens store in downtown Opelika

Photo by Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

By Morgan Bryce

Starting last fall with a food truck and a passion for matcha, Whimsy co-founders Jasmine Lee and Victoria McAbee celebrated the next chapter of their young, thriving business on Monday with the grand opening of their downtown Opelika storefront.
“Sometimes we get down when things aren’t going the way we hoped they would or the projections we had aren’t coming into fruition. But, then we stop and look at each other and remind ourselves that we’ve only been open a little more than a year and that it’s truly remarkable that we’ve made it this far being completely self-funded and making (financially) what you’d expect to right out of college,” McAbee said.
Located in the former home of Cheese Please at 109 S. 8th St., Whimsy’s smaller space will facilitate a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere with tableside service and co-working feel, which will appeal to both younger and older generations, according to McAbee.
Whimsy’s story began when the two women met at a tailgate preceding the 2013 Iron Bowl on Auburn University’s campus.
“I knew when I met that girl that we were going to be good, if not great, friends,” McAbee remembered. A bond quickly formed between them, and they soon became best friends.
Both Lee and McAbee are passionate about health and wellness, which led to conversations of starting a business catered to those ideals last May, and Whimsy was born.
Whimsy made its food-truck debut on Auburn’s campus on Sept. 21, 2018.
While their original focus was coffee, McAbee said matcha grew to become their number-one selling product.
Later that fall, they added a wholesale business called “Whimsy Matcha,” which imports ceremonial-grade matcha from Japan. That particular branch of the business has boomed and sells to boutiques, restaurants and retailers across the country.
As winter approached, McAbee said she and Lee realized the need for a storefront and began looking for the perfect space.
Earlier this year, the two settled on downtown Opelika, a location that McAbee said will help expand their clientele base and inform even more people about the benefits of drinking matcha, which science shows can affect positive change for people’s physical and mental health.
“Our mission since day one has been to educate. We knew that it would require a lot of education on our end, and it’s a lot of repetition every single day, but we don’t get tired of it, because that’s another person drinking it, and hopefully enjoying those health benefits,” McAbee said.
The menu consists mainly of matcha drinks, which will include the standard lattes, but some other, lesser-known combinations that “people are sure to enjoy,” McAbee said. Coffee will also be served as well as wine in the coming weeks.
One baked good item that McAbee discussed was a matcha-baked donut with a lemon zest glaze produced by the local baking company “Sweetly Sifted.” Most, if not all, of their baked goods will be gluten-free and vegan friendly.
Whimsy’s tenative schedule during its first two weeks of operation will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Check their social media pages for updates.
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