February Small Business of the Month
Alan Tumblin, owner of Castlerigg Wine Shop
Tell us about the origins and impetus of Castlerigg Wine Shop.
I’ve visited wineries and wine shops for many years. I always enjoy tasting different wines and talking to the vintners and others about their wines. I like the educational aspect of wine tasting as well, learning about the different aromas, flavors, etc. I wanted to open a wine shop about 10 yrs ago. I was working full time and couldn’t do both. I also couldn’t convince myself to quit my job to open a shop. I lost my job about 3 yrs ago and decided it was now or never. My sister got involved because she was able to invest additional cash that I needed to get started.
For readers who may be unfamiliar, describe Castlerigg Wine Shop.
Castlerigg Wine Shop is an independent shop in a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian house in Carlisle, PA. We sell wine for 2 Pennsylvania wineries (Seven Mountains Wine Cellars near State College and the Vineyard at Grandview outside Mt Joy). In addition to wine, we sell lots of great wine related merchandise. We are allowed to sell wine by the glass so we are also a wine bar. We have light appetizers and desserts to accompany wine consumed on site. We have space available to rent for small private parties too.
What is one aspect of Castlerigg Wine Shop that readers might be surprised to know?
Castlerigg doesn’t actually have a liquor license. We operate under the winery licenses since they are allowed to sell in satellite locations beyond the winery.
Sum up Castlerigg Wine Shop in one sentence.
We sell some of the best Pennsylvania wines available in a unique environment and in an area that had nothing like that before.
What is your definition of an entrepreneur? How do you fit that definition?
An entrepreneur is someone who wants to take charge of their career and future by developing a product or service related business of their own. I fit that definition by the fact that instead of getting another job working for others I created one for myself.
What’s the best part of owning your own business?
The best part of owning my own business is the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing something for myself and something that I enjoy doing.
What’s the most difficult aspect of owning your own business?
The most difficult aspect is the amount of time it takes to run your own business. It really does become all-consuming at times!
What advice would you give to those thinking of opening up a small business in general, and in the Central Pa. region?
People really need to do the research to make sure their idea is viable and that there is a need for it in the area they want to operate. They should also seek out assistance from the various groups that are available to help folks open a business. I received some much needed help from the Small Business Development Council at Shippensburg University.
What does it mean to you to be a small business owner?
Owning my own business helps me understand that for the most part I am in control of my future. I also feel like an important part of the community and the ongoing revitalization of downtown Carlisle.
In your opinion, how important are small businesses to the Central Pa. region? How important are they to the nation as a whole?
Small businesses are extremely important to both Central PA and the nation. They really do help people shop local which in turn puts more money back into the local economy. It also helps reduce transportation and other natural resource usage so it’s good for the environment as well as the economy.
Owning a small business requires a tremendous amount of work and dedication. What is the single most important moment for you that represents the reason for all of your effort and time?
I really do enjoy talking to the customers and helping them to understand and appreciate that Pennsylvania wines have come a long way in the last 10-20 years.
Where and with whom do you find inspiration as a small business owner?
I belong to a neighborhood collection of small businesses called the Pomfret Group, also known as Shop the Block. We do a lot of things as a group and they provide a lot of encouragement and advice for me. I also get a lot of support from the Chamber of Commerce, The Downtown Carlisle Association, and the Visitors Bureau. They keep me connected to other businesses in Carlisle and the entire Cumberland Valley. The wineries also are a huge inspiration since it’s their great product I am selling!
Do you have any events, happenings or specials coming up in the near future?
We do events frequently. We have monthly wine and painting parties (with amuseuncorked.com). We have some nice Valentine specials planned. We do private tasting events where we pair wine with different appetizers. We have one scheduled for 2/21/16 and we will be doing another 5 course Irish wine dinner for St Patrick’s Day. We will be participating in the annual Taste of Carlisle event in March as well. Follow us on Facebook or check our website events calendar to keep up with all of our scheduled events.
If anyone thinks Pennsylvania wineries can’t make good wine, stop in and we will be happy to prove otherwise. And for those who say they don’t like wine, our philosophy is that you just haven’t found the right one yet!