How about some cheese with that wine?

SUBMITTED PHOTO No, it's not a Puffin wine label, but one for coffee.

In the three years we have owned The Wine Shack, we have worked hard to make our little wine store the very best it can be. The store is focused on excellent local wines, but also includes iconic wines from California, France and Italy. We listen to our customers and bring in the wines they ask for, invite exceptional wine makers to do their thing in the Tasting Room and try to make customers happy with each time they visit The Wine Shack. We’ve really tried to create an amazing local wine shop, in a tourist town, where about 90 percent of our customers are just passing through.

Last November, as things were beginning to slow down and I was looking forward to some catch-up time following our busiest time of year, I received a call from our landlord, Mike Clark. The space next to The Wine Shack would be available in 2015. Mike asked if we were interested in taking that space. Yes, we were! Maryann and I started looking at possible uses of the space … expansion of The Wine Shack? Or a new store to complement The Wine Shack? We thought a lot about it and asked local friends and regular customers for their input. It didn’t take long to decide we would create a new store offering food products that pair nicely with wine. Concept in place, check. The to-do list grew quickly …. create a name for the new store, begin remodeling the space, get a liquor license, get a city business license, get business insurance, meet with the Department of Agriculture and Design Review Board, and build a products’ list. We had to do all of this while running The Wine Shack. The quiet winter months that I looked forward to was replaced with the long to-do list as well as meetings, interviews, phone calls and emails regarding the new store.

One by one, we checked things off the list. The new store would be named “Provisions 124.” I’ve always liked the word “provisions” and our street address is 124 N. Hemlock. The new name tells customers what we sell and where we are. Progress on other things was slow at first, but when the wall was opened up between the two spaces, everything began falling into place quickly. New fixtures and fresh flooring in both The Wine Shack and Provisions 124 really help to create a seamless appearance between the stores. We also added outdoor seating on our deck. You can now sit outside and enjoy a cheese platter with a glass (or bottle) of wine. We’ve wanted to offer outdoor seating since purchasing The Wine Shack, but weren’t able to before now. This is already a crowd-pleaser as our deck was packed during the first two weekends.

Similar to what we did with The Wine Shack, the products in Provisions 124 are focused on small regional producers. You will find local cheeses, salami, crackers, spreads, olive oil, vinegar and chocolates. Some products have been brought in from farther away. In those cases, we identified the very best and highest quality products we could find. With the shelves stocked, we quietly opened Provisions 124 on Friday, April 17. Customer feedback has been very positive and suggestions for new products have been great - we welcome yours too!

We are most proud of the local business relationships we’ve established. The newest Puffin product isn’t a wine, its coffee. Puffin “Moondance” coffee is an organic, medium to dark roast blend, made by our friends at Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters, exclusively for Provisions 124. Puffin “Moondance” coffee comes in either whole beans or ground and we offer it in half pound bags.

Nothing goes better with wine than cheese and a fresh baguette. Provisions 124 is proud to carry Sea Level Bakery’s demi baguettes. We pick up fresh baguettes daily and they are so fresh that they’re still warm when we pick them up. We only order enough for the day, so if you want a baguette, you need to get to our store early.

We’re looking to add to our local relationships and are talking with a couple other businesses about carrying their products. Stay tuned for some fun things that are in discussion. I’ll keep you updated as we move forward with those relationships.

Maryann and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us open Provisions 124, including Coaster Construction, David Kiedrowski, Jim Entler, Doug and Emmas Lindsay, Todd Rowley, Ron Jaber, Alaina, Marty and Chance Giguiere, Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters and Sea Level Bakery. We appreciate all of your work and inspiration. Also, we’d like to thank our staff, Joe Lebold, Lee Roberts and Marlene Reynolds for the additional work we’ve asked of you during the expansion and for your support, suggestions and the great care you take of our customers!

We hope all of you enjoy our new store, Provisions 124, and find some cheese to go with that wine!

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