Before they owned Grapevine of Carmel Wine Inc., Danny and Jennifer Dougherty used to be customers at the store.
Back then, Danny would say to himself that the wine store could do so much more to better serve patrons. Now as the co-owner with his wife, he’s been putting those thoughts to good use.
“I thought there was a lot of potential,” he said.
Since they took over in August, Danny and Jennifer have been making sure the store reaches its peak, offering customers a wide selection of wines and liquors, especially with the holiday season in full gear.
While Danny will be the first to say he doesn’t have much experience in the wine industry, he has a breadth of knowledge in marketing, sales, promotion, and inventory management. He doesn’t need to know much about the wine to know how to sell it.
One way the couple has improved the store is having an owner onsite most of the time. Danny will be there a good portion of the day and Jennifer comes by after work in the evenings for a little. By having an owner almost always there, customers can give the couple input (which the two always seek) about the different wines and liquors they’d like to purchase. There is a sheet of paper where a customer can put down their name and email address to get updates from the store.
The interior of the store is still shuffled around time to time to present the wine bottles better and there are plans to put in new signage, Danny said.
The two are longtime residents. Danny has lived in the town for more than 25 years and Jennifer is a lifetime resident who previously served on the Carmel school board.
Danny said it’s important for customers to know the owners are locals invested in the community.
Danny said when the company he worked for was sold he was left looking for another career opportunity. He and Jennifer decided they wanted to run their own business, but what type of business that’d be was unclear until they found out the Grapevine was available.
“It’s close to home,” Dan said. “And we thought it was a really good opportunity because it was an underserved location.”
For decades, Danny’s commute to work was more than an hour when he took the train into New York City. Now, traveling to the job he’s had since August is one he could walk to if he really wanted to.
While he would have been fine to open a store nearby even if it weren’t in Carmel, Danny said he’s happiest in the town he lives.
“Carmel first,” Danny said.