Rochester, N.Y. – In a difficult economic climate, one new local small business is off to a successful start.
It’s a wine bar called “Chocolate and Vines,” located on University Avenue in the city.
The menu is simple enough – cheese, coffee, wine, chocolates, and dessert.
Danielle Lewis and Michael Goldberg spent 18 months turning this historic house into a cozy chocolate and wine bar.
Contrary to the idea that small businesses are discouraged in New York State, they say they were welcomed.
“Working with the city was a breeze. They love what we’re trying to do. We’re not here to turn a 100-year old home into an apartment complex and modernize everything. We want to bring back the charm of the home and honor it,” says Michael Goldberg and Danielle Lewis, owners of Chocolate & Vines.
Here’s how they’ve turned this chocolate and wine bar into a success story.
Step One: Danielle says small businesses must be prepared with applications and documents, from the liquor authority to the City of Rochester.
“As soon as they ask for anything you need to be really on it, and then they’ll move along right with you,” says Lewis.
Step Two: Build a nest egg, and assume that everything will cost more and business will be slow for the first year.
Chocolate and Vines is thrilled to be handicapped accessible, as you can see by the lift here. But Danielle and Michael found out what a lot of new small businesses find out. Installing the lift to become compliant can cost a lot more than you plan to pay.
Total cost $14,000, but it could have been more with an inexperienced contractor, which sinks many new businesses.
“It’s the contractors that really make it more or less expensive. It’s about how much preparation and knowledge they have in dealing with the city and the preservation board and making it ADA compliant all at the same time,” the owners say.
All the planning has already paid off.
“People are really excited. And even when they can’t get a table, they’re so happy to see that we’re surviving. They’re happy for us! They’re like, no problem, we’ll call in a reservation next time,” the owners say.
They say to get a seat this Valentine’s weekend, you will need to make a reservation.