After opening their first business in 1999, Arthur and Mike had settled into their routines of running their family restaurant. Along with their father George, Mike was the Chef, and Arthur was the Front of the House (General Manager). Arthur had a lifelong interest in fine wine and had a long background in fine dining, and had always dreamed of being in the wine business as an entrepreneur.
When the landlord of the shopping center approached the guys with an offer to take over the space immediately next to the restaurant, they did not hesitate to take the offer. Their restaurant was at capacity every weekend, and there was no separate bar area for guests to enjoy while waiting for a table. They considered a variety of different expansion ideas that would incorporate a “bar” element , but weren’t happy with the idea of another typical, run of the mill, restaurant bar.
They had toyed with the idea of looking into any number of franchises, specifically with the notion of not having to start from scratch. While attending a Franchise show in Washington, DC, the guys discovered and met with representatives with WineStyles. They were intrigued with the concept and were quick to recognize that it just might be what they were looking for.
What made you buy into the WineStyles concept?
“The WineStyles concept gave us an opportunity to relatively easily add a distinct yet complementary brand into our existing operations. With consent of the corporate team, we were the first to open a WineStyles franchise attached to an already functioning restaurant.” said Arthur Lampros. “Considered a test-case, our new store would be one of the first hybrid concepts as a wine retailer and a wine bar. Aside from retailing packaged wines, we also served wine by the glass, on premise bottle service, an extensive food menu and hosted many special events.”
“By teaming up with a franchise, it was like a business-in-a-box”, commented Lampros. “From marketing, to product knowledge, business advisory support, and best practice experience, the choice was simple. Running a very busy restaurant is hard enough. Opening up an independent retail and on-premise establishment from scratch at the same time is just nuts.”
What are some of your favorite things about being in beverage industry?
“Beyond the love of wine and beer, the ability to offer guests a venue that incorporates so many different elements is very special”, explained Lampros. “Guests come to experience our weekly tastings, join the wine club, and connect with fellow customers every day. Looking across the store when everyone is smiling, laughing, and simply enjoying themselves with great food and drinks makes it all worthwhile…..and making a nice living at the same time….well that’s even better.”
Why would this business be different than any other?
“What’s amazing, is how we connected with the community.” remarked Lampros. “We’ve been involved in various fundraisers and enjoy being a venue for connecting wine connoisseurs together.”
We’ve had numerous couples meet each other at WineStyles and eventually get married.
Several wedding proposals.
Countless retirement celebrations.
The Babies of Winestyles! Guests bring in their newborns and we get to see them grow-up.
Our partnership with local charities (Azalea Charities, Aid for Wounded Warriors, Purple Heart Wines) and most recently one of our staff members running the Marine Corp Marathon as a member of Team Azalea.
Aside from our guests who visit almost every day, there are groups of customers that visit several times a week to attend our tasting events and socialize.
Over the years we’ve seen customers have “Wine Moments”, when they taste and discover a specific wine that has a real memorable impact on them.
We have a number of customers that have Service Dogs, who become mascots for the store.
Over a glass of wine, guests have experienced significant Pop Culture moments together, whether its major sporting events, elections, national or local events, wine is the perfect conversation starter.
Our Wine Club members enjoy meeting up with fellow wine lovers, reminiscing about their wine travel experiences, opening special bottles for special occasions or discussing this month’s selection of membership wines.
In essence….we’re a true “clubhouse” for our Wine Club members and guests.
Don’t be shy, stop by and see us sometime.
We’d love to share our story with you!
Arthur Lampros / Mike Lampros,