This month's business blog features Amy Groh, owner of Specials Wine Seller in Kilmarnock. The shop has outstanding wines (many of which are under $10), gourmet foods and gifts, free weekly wine tastings, and freshly baked goods Wednesday-Sunday morning. I've known Amy since my days at the Y and Chesapeake Academy and have always admired her ability to think both big and small - throwing out awesome ideas and following up with detailed leg work. She's smart, funny, and she and her family are passionate about our community and their business. Here’s my conversation with Amy (pictured with her boyfriend, Ray Britt).
Tell me about your business.
Hi Susan, I run Specials Wine Seller. We feature wine from all over the globe, ranging in price from $8.99 to, well, as nice as you could want to purchase. We also sell gourmet products like special cheeses, salamis and crackers. My father bakes baguettes, croissants, chocolate croissants, and salted caramel Danish. We have a variety of special cookbooks, and do gift baskets year round. So there's a lot more than just wine going on in here!
How long has the business been there and when did you first become a part of it?
About 8 years ago, my father & I got into the gift, accessory, and home décor business. A couple of years later (and 2-½ bottles later with a couple of business partners - some of us thought a wine store would be a good idea), we opened Specials Wine Seller.The rest is history.
What ignited your passion for this particular line of work?
My father has always had a passion for wine. It's one that I grew up with and has grown as I have.
How many employees do you have?
The number varies from year to year - anywhere from 2-7.
What do you like most about your work?
People. I love my customers. Many are friends. Sometimes this place feels like "Cheers" and I'm a bartender that can't serve a drink. I like helping people pair wine with their meals. It's always so much fun spending time with friends and a delicious beverage. I really like helping people drink something good. "Life's too short to stand in line or drink bad wine." That's what dad always says.
Excluding yours, what local business/organization do you admire most and why?
There are a LOT that I do. One I was in today was Pearl. Tammy was working on an event to help The Haven. She is always working on something to help The Haven. She does a great job fulfilling her mission, merchandising her store, and helping women who have been impacted by abuse.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to start a business?
Start with an excellent business plan. Get help with that business plan. Always keep the most important thing the most important thing. Don't lose sight of your mission (so you better make sure you have a mission :)
What do you do in your non-work time?
My boyfriend & I play racquetball daily (almost daily). I spend as much time as I can with my awesome kids. I try to laugh a lot, and make the community a better place. :) Hope I do.
How do you manage stress?
What's that?!? Yoga would be awesome . . . but I usually ignore it (stress, not yoga). More wise words from my father: "Worry is a misuse of your imagination." I do a lot of letting go and letting God.
Please give your website address and contact details.
Check out Specials Wine Seller on facebook: www.facebook.com/SpecialsWineSeller
We are at 52 South Main St, Kilmarnock, VA 22482 - 804-436-WINE (9463). We have a wine tasting every Friday from 5-7pm. You should stop by and check it out sometime! We'll taste 3-4 wines and give a nice little education on the wines, and sample a few of our yummy cheeses & such.