The Graham’s both come from corporate backgrounds – Allan in IT and Gina in Accounting. They had always appreciated wine, learning about the agriculture behind it (both having grown up on Iowa farms), learning about different varietals and regions, and developing their palates. Owning a boutique wine shop by day, wine bar by night hadn’t occurred to them.
As wine connoisseurs, they had frequented many different wine shops locally, but the couple was first exposed to WineStyles as customers of the West Des Moines, Iowa location. The concept really resonated with them and helped in their growing appreciation and knowledge of wine.
“I had always warded off drinking Chardonnay until I learned how it can range from lighter and silkier to richer and more buttery in flavor through experiencing different styles of the grape”, mentioned Gina. (For the record, she prefers SILKY style of Chardonnay.)
They were hooked and quickly became Wine Club members, participating in the many wine tastings and education events available at the West Des Moines WineStyles store.
All of these experiences led Allan and Gina to opening their own WineStyles store in January of 2010. The couple continued working their corporate jobs for three years before deciding that Allan would focus 100% of his time on their WineStyles store.
This decision has helped them to grow their store even further, and even branch out to having a role in area development on behalf of the franchise. Gina continues to work at her corporate job full-time, but is an active partner in the store.
Today, Allan and Gina continue to enjoy learning about wine and craft beer, and love having the frequent opportunity to share that knowledge with others, whether during an individual retail experience or through one of their portfolio tastings or education classes.
“Owning our WineStyles store has provided us with the opportunity to meet so many new people and friends, including other industry professionals, our fellow WineStyles store owners, and our customers.”
WineStyles is more than just wine on the shelves – it’s about building a community, a true “Clubhouse” experience. Allan and Gina have a few touching stories of community development due to their involvement with WineStyles:
Expanding their customers’ palates can be very interesting to watch. “We had customer who was ‘nothing but Chardonnay’. He ended up joining our Wine Club, and over time, he evolved into a ‘big red’ wine drinker” noted Allan.
“Once, a couple that had been dating for a while, joined our Wine Club and regularly frequented the Friday night tastings. When he was ready to propose, he chose our store because this was a favorite date night and they enjoyed the store and our company” added Gina. “Amazingly, they also decided to hold the actual wedding at our store, one year later, on December 23, 2017. What a blessing to be part of their new lives together!”
As a valued member of the Johnston community, Allan was also elected to the Board of Directors of the Johnston Chamber of Commerce and served as President in 2016.
“It has been fun to see the many friendships form among our customers over the years and the small-world connections when they engage in conversation”, remarked Allan.
Learn more about Allan and Gina’s journey at their next Open House. Discover the world of franchising and learn about WineStyles business opportunities in Iowa. The event is free to attend.