Inari Wines Closing in June 2014March 10, 2014
Bristol, VA – After 11 years in business in downtown Bristol, Inari Wines will close its doors as of June 21, 2014.
To celebrate the end of an era, and as a way of saying “Thank you” to their loyal customers, the store will host an “It’s Been a Blast!” sale, now through June 21st.
During the sale, the store will offer a 10% discount on all in-stock wine and beer, and 20% off all food and gift items. Customers can purchases cases of wine and beer at 20% off, including special orders.
Owners Paul and Aulikki Brandt cite stagnated sales due in part to the increased presence of wines and craft beers in local grocery stores as the primary motivation for their decision to close the store. Paul Brandt stated that he finds the change very interesting. Brandt noted that since his largest wholesaler revised their business model, Inari Wines’ top selling wines began appearing in local grocery stores, including many smaller producers for which the wine shop had spent years building a local market.
“Our sales have just been flat the past couple of years,” says Aulikki Brandt.
The store owners also say they feel discouraged by a lack of support for small business from city leaders. “In spite of the incredible progress Bristol has made over the last decade, we know that much more could have been done with our tax dollars to directly promote local business. Instead, they’re spending millions of dollars to bring in these big box stores from outside the area.” he says. “They just expect Believe in Bristol to deal with it. Believe in Bristol is a great organization, and they’ve done a lot for downtown, but there’s only so much they can do without a lot more support from the cities.”
The Brandts emphasize that they will be closing the store to move on to a new chapter in their lives, not “going out of business.”
“We could keep doing this, sure,” said Paul Brandt. “We make a living. We just can’t grow, can’t afford to hire someone full time to help out. This year we took our first real vacation since we opened the store, and we realized we don’t want to keep working this hard and not get any further than we are.”
Brandt says a review of a recent Social Security statement was the final deciding factor. “We realized we’d be making more money when we retire than we are now,” he said. “That’s just crazy.”
The couple say they have enjoyed the years they spent as part of downtown Bristol’s business community, and are especially grateful for the friends they’ve made in the community.
“We want to thank all our customers,” says Paul Brandt. “We want them to know how much we appreciate their business and their friendship. We also want to thank our part-time staff who have helped us over the years, and particularly Tanya Rhinehart-Rios. She’s been helping out during our Saturday wine tastings for years, and we couldn’t have done it without her.”
“They’re not just staff, and our customers aren’t just customers,” Aulikki Brandt added. “They’re our friends. We’re really going to miss them, and miss being part of downtown. It’s just time to move on.”
The couple say that while they may be “moving on” in the figurative sense, they love Bristol and plan to stay. “Who knows what we will do next?” Paul Brandt said. “But whateveer it is, it will be in Bristol!”