A pair of freshmen entrepreneurs is going from calling on students in the classroom to calling on beer sellers as they prepare to open a new Southside shop.
Barbara White and Geoff Hunt plan to open Bottleworks at 3078 Stony Point Road in the Stony Point Shopping Center in April. The pair has leased a 1,200-square-foot space that was formerly home to a Subway.
Bottleworks will sell beer on draft and in bottles for offsite consumption. Sixteen tap lines are planned for the store. The shop will also have wine and prepackaged snacks.
“We want to bring a neighborhood shop,” Hunt said. “We also want to be able to grow and expand the inventory.”
Hunt is a former elementary school teacher who was looking for a change after 11 years in the classroom. White is a former biology teacher and stay-at-home mother.
The pair met through White volunteering at the school where Hunt taught. Lessons learned through teaching, such as organization and being able to work well with others, have come in handy, Hunt said.
“There are skills you kind of take for granted as a teacher,” Hunt said. “Then you realize how valuable they are outside the teaching profession.”
Hunt and White became friends in part because their sons were, they said.
“Our families became friends,” White said. “We both had a passion for craft beer, and our talking about ideas became a reality.”
After White tried an American Double / Imperial IPA beer, Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker, on Hunt’s recommendation, the pair continued to share beer tips. The West End residents turned to SCORE Richmond for help launching a venture that could put their interest in beer to work. They said their mentors at SCORE, John Anderson and Al Werner, were essential to getting in touch with the right accountants, bankers and attorneys.
Hunt would not say how much it will cost to open Bottleworks. The venture is being financed with help from EVB.
Bottleworks’ neighbors at Stony Point Shopping Center will include Southbound, Gelati Celesti and a Martin’s that is scheduled to close. The retail development is owned by a joint venture between two firms in Illinois and Washington, D.C.
Hunt said the Southside location was chosen in part because other markets around Richmond have become bloated. In addition to more and more grocery stores stocking up on craft beer, shops like Growlers to Go and The Wink have popped up in the West End.
“The West End, we feel, is saturated,” Hunt said. “We’re going to be in a great spot where there are not a whole lot of options around.”
White said Bottleworks will look to sell harder-to-find beers not typically found on grocery store shelves.
“We really don’t think a grocery store is going to have that much of an impact on our business, because we’re going to be selling different products,” White said.
She said the focus will be on fine-tuning their store, as opposed to looking to quickly add more locations.
“Rather than stretch ourselves thin, we’d like to do really well with this one,” she said. “It’s not Total Wine by any means – we’re more of the mom-and-pop neighborhood shop.”
Well done Geoff, best of luck with your new business.
Welcome to the Southside, we are happy to have this option. Best of luck to both of you.