How to Start Planning to Start Paperwork to Open a Wine Bar in 5 Easy Steps

Oh, hello there, it's so nice to see you visiting our page again. When I started this blog, I wanted to use it as a marketing tool for our concept as well as an accurate log of everything that goes into starting a food and beverage business. We've been so busy getting together with many of you, filling out loads of paperwork, and making huge decisions I sometimes feel ridiculously unqualified to make, that I've not prioritized an update recently.

If you're anything like me, you're probably dying to know what happens next in our journey and I apologize for keeping you in the dark. To catch everyone up and remain trendy, here's an informative listicle detailing how to successfully start thinking about filing paperwork to start building your own wine bar.

1. Walk through every commercial property in your price range.

You may or may not know that we found our dream location in the spring of 2015. I'd get teary-eyed looking at pictures of the property online, in the same way I did when I saw my sister in what would be her wedding gown for the first time, in an irrationally emotional way that cannot be explained or forgotten. Finally walking through the converted historical home gave me chills, while crunching the numbers to make it work financially gave me anxiety. To take the edge off and explore every possible option, we saw space after commercial space that even had the slightest potential of housing Roots. We now have 2 very viable options, one being our dream spot as the owners have been wonderfully receptive to our proposals, and the other a beautiful new construction option allowing us to truly create our own space. Whichever location we land, after our tour-de-commercial real estate, I can confidently say it will be the perfect space for us.


2. Make yourself uncomfortably vulnerable and ask your friends and family to bet on you.

Regardless of location, we have always known we would need the financial backing of friends and family to get things started. Banks and brand new restaurants don't typically mix, and if we waited to be able to fund the start-up costs ourselves we may miss our opportunity to bring our unique concept to Saugatuck. The past 10 days of meeting with many of the most important people in my life have been a lesson in vulnerability, courage, self-confidence, genuine honesty, the human capacity for generosity, and faith. There are no adequate words to describe how I feel after securing not only emotional but financial support from many of you, so I will make you all a promise instead. I promise to never take our relationship for granted and to always remember your belief in our success as it will certainly fuel our ability to do so. You are making a massive difference in our lives, and for that I cannot thank you enough. (side note: if you're reading this and have spoken to us about investing, we will be in touch soon with next steps!)


3. Start the long process of securing a liquor license and sign a sales agreement for one in the same day.

Ten days ago, aka last Monday, we met with a liquor license advocate to get the ball rolling on finding a license and applying for a transfer. That same day, we verbally agreed to buy an existing license and set the deadline for applying for the transfer and subsequently needing a physical business address. While the summer working in New Jersey made progress feel stagnant, this past week in Michigan hasn't had enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we would like. Today, Roots LLC has an EIN, a liquor license sales agreement, and a fairly tight deadline to sign on one of two aforementioned properties. 


4. Constantly interrupt every-day conversations with ideas on what food to serve or what color the walls will be.

This is maybe the most frustrating part of my day-to-day, but also a very crucial step in the process. I'll be in the middle of lunch and experience an overwhelming urge to look at couches or optional wine glass designs. In most cases, these elements won't progress until months from now, but that doesn't stop all of the creative details from consuming my brain and thus my every day life. I have to admit though, when numbers and paperwork put my soul to sleep, these uncontrollable bursts of ideas bring it back to life.


5. Hurry up and wait.

This step is where we spend most of our time right now, often times jumping back to step 4 then step 2 then step 1 then back to step 2 again. While we're making connections and filing paperwork and negotiating pricing on a daily basis, most of our time is spent anxiously waiting to agree upon a location and, in the words of Beyonce, put a ring on it. Once we have that property sale or lease agreement in our hands, we can continue with the liquor license transfer and really start connecting with the community and vendors and building every aspect of Roots.

SO, now you know the 5 easy steps to take to start planning to start paperwork to open a wine bar. I hope you feel as much an expert on the topic as I do (which isn't very much of one, to be honest), and I will be posting again as soon as we secure Roots a physical address. As always, we love hearing from anyone and everyone who is following along and are happy to answer pretty much any question you could possibly have. Love having you here, can't wait to have you at our bar in the coming year!




Kimberly BaleComment