Sunday, February 12, 2006

Growing pains & pleasures

At this point we all agree that sometime during that first day we opened our doors, we had already outgrown our space.

We built our very charming building (actually Ann Arbor builder and architect, Attila Huth, built it...) with a specific sense of the business in mind. A small winery, closed in the winter. Maybe open during the weekends on shoulder seasons and bit more in the summer and autumn. Enough business (and enough wine) to make that work.

We opened in September 2003 on the first day of our newly formed wine trail's first event. Tickets sold out over a week ahead of the event. And during our first two days of operation we found ourselves serving 250+ new customers.

The back room, which we intended for storage and a work room, suddenly became a special parties room, seating about 25-30 people. And from that day on, that room has served a purpose we never envisioned.

Yesterday we held our 2nd annual Wine Lovers' Open House -- sort of a celebration of Valentine's Day weekend. When you hold an event in February in Michigan, you need to be able to accommodate everyone indoors. For a few hours yesterday it felt like we were splitting at the seams! Our helpers, Chris, Suzanne, and Ken were treasures. We happily made it through the day because of them.

But Holly and I spent the day (independently of each other, but simutaneously) dreaming of an addition that would actually accommodate a large winter event.

Our business started outgrowing itself on the first day we opened. It's been an exciting ride ever since.

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