The Story Behind The Shop
5 Black-Owned Retailers To Know
A beacon among the lively communities across the country, these hard working entrepreneurs are making their mark. These wine shops, convenience stores, liquor stores and other businesses are the building blocks within their communities. The local pit stops to grab your favorite bottle of wine or even an oasis to hang out with the dedicated team behind the counter. You’ll also find all three of our McBride Sisters Collection brands on their shelves, keeping our wines readily available across the country!
These businesses have also made a point to carry, highlight and grow other Black-owned wine and liquor brands in order to share their successes. When they rise, they raise others. Across the country, these shops are all intertwining a love for wine, community and a work hard mentality to truly set their businesses apart. We raise our glass to these 5 trailblazers and the many others out there, we will support your endeavors always. Shop small, buy Black and always support local!
7/11: Arlington, Texas - Alyson Rae Lawson
At just 32 years old, Alyson Rae Lawson is already her own boss. The CEO and franchisee owns and operates two convenience stores and gas stations, challenging the corporate structure by doing things her own way through franchising. “It wasn’t easy, but it is definitely less difficult than starting a business from the ground up. It had its challenges, but I had no plan B so I was forced to work through them,” Lawson said to Shoutout DFW.
With a background in government administration, Lawson earned her MBA and Master of Accounting, however did not feel properly respected in corporate America. Lawson has since realized the importance of staying true to herself. “I did not get to where I am today by being what other people wanted me to be. I got here by being 100% unapologetically me!” She is a force to be reckoned with and has continued to grow and expand her franchise by bringing others along her journey to success. Her shelves are stocked with other Black-owned businesses and great wines to provide you with a 711 shopping experience like you’ve never seen before. She continues to bring her great taste to her community and inspires others to think outside the box in order to find success.
Kimbark Beverage Shoppe: Chicago, IL - Jonathan Swain
On Chicago’s South Side, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe is a community pillar. A family run business that has been in operation since 1974, when John W. Swain Sr. purchased the store that was initially part of a Hyde Park urban renewal project, and his son Jonathan Swain took over the shop 12 years ago. “What brought me back to this business was my commitment to my community,” Swain told Beverage Dynamics.
At Kimbark Bev’s roots, the retailer continues to focus on giving back to the community, employing 19 people, with a focus on those in need. “We hired people who had spent time in prison even before that was a tax credit...we believe that people deserve a second chance.”
Beyond its community of Chicago, Kimbark Bev focuses on supporting Black businesses nationwide, stocking a range of Black-owned alcohol brands. Swain acknowledges the importance of distribution, while discussing the deeper issues of American policy that have exempted Black people economically. “We support black-owned brands because they’re part of our ecosystem,” Swain said.
SIP Wine & Beer: Escondido, California - Cassandra Schaeg
Nestled in Downtown Escondido is a wine tasting room and retail store called SIP that was founded on the mantra of “SIP, BUY, SHARE”. “SIP our unique selection of wine and beer, BUY a bottle to take home, SHARE wine knowledge through themed events and educational classes,” founder Cassandra Schaeg told SD Voyager.
After settling into Escondido for a few years Schaeg noticed that she wasn’t spending any time or money in the actual area, so she decided to focus her efforts on the community by opening up a wine bar. “Community development and involvement, my love of quality wine, and the desire to share wine knowledge became the building blocks of Sip Wine and Beer LLC.”
Happy Cork: Brooklyn, NY - Sunshine Foss
Happy Cork in Brooklyn is much more than just a wine shop, it is an oasis. Owner Sunshine Foss put her background in fashion design and textiles to use, creating a wonderland with floral arrangements, decorative antique pieces and accent walls. “People come in here and don’t want to leave; they spend hours talking to staff about their whole lives,” Foss told Black Owned Brooklyn.
The former designer bought the space in 2016 with her husband, but after having difficulty finding tenants they decided to turn the space into their own wine and spirit shop. Despite facing various hardships when trying to open up shop, the store officially opened its doors in March of 2019, to the support and love of the surrounding community.
As a minority business owner, Foss shares the importance of stocking minority-owned products, despite often running into roadblocks. “There have been times that I have requested minority brands from certain distributors, and they tell me they don’t carry any. Not even one,” Foss told Travel Noire. Happy Cork currently stocks around 35 Black-owned wine varieties and approximately 15 Black-owned spirits.
3 Parks Wine: Atlanta, GA - Sarah Pierre
A veteran in the hospitality industry, Sarah Pierre was feeling the burnout of spending too many years managing restaurants. “I couldn’t handle the late nights anymore, reckless behavior, long crazy work hours, and missing important events and milestones for myself, family and friends,” Pierre told Voyage Atlanta, who took some time off before deciding to open wine retailer 3 Parks Wine.
Located in close proximity to three Atlanta park neighborhoods, 3 Parks Wine offers an all-inclusive experience that provides wines for everyone. “I wouldn't say I only go organic or bio-dynamic, but smaller production is what I'm looking for when picking wines for the shop. I'm also thinking of my customers and what they are looking for when they come into the shop,” Pierre told Eater. Offering a casual, fun and friendly neighborhood environment is also what sets 3 Parks apart, and keeps customers coming back.
To find our McBride Sisters Collection Wines near you check out the store locator here. Join the McBride Sisters Wine Club to have a hand curated wine selection delivered directly to your door every quarter, read more here.