A new shop called “The Cocktailery” is opening soon in South End, selling everything you need for your perfect home bar set-up.
Why it matters: Owner Tamu Curtis turned a pandemic pivot into a thriving business. She’s on a mission to launch the “Sur La Table of cocktails” here in Charlotte and beyond.
Background: For years leading up to the pandemic, Curtis was known as the one-woman team behind “Liberate Your Palate,” a blog and website that also ran a series of in-person cocktail classes.
When the pandemic hit, she leaned in and created a whole new line of revenue: virtual cocktail classes geared toward corporations.
- She’s now led virtual workshops with Space X, Google and just about every big company you can think of.
- And she’s made big money doing it. The company generated about $250,000 last year, and Curtis tells me they’ve already reached that within the first quarter of 2021.
How she did it: She credits the company’s fast growth her website’s excellent SEO and word-of-mouth marketing. Try Googling “corporate cocktail classes,” and her website is ranked No. 2. (For media nerds like me, you know that’s huge.)
Curtis has long wanted to open a storefront to complement her cocktail classes and to share her expertise in mixology with others. Because of her successful pivot, she had the funds to do it.
- “I’ve been boot-strapping Liberate Your Palate ever since I started,” Curtis tells me over coffee at Atherton, just outside her new space. “This is one big final boot-strap,” she says, pointing to the fact that she’s opening the shop with no bank loans nor investors.
What to expect: The new cocktail supply and beverage lifestyle shop is located inside Atherton Mill in the former Brideside space next to Not Just Coffee.
- The 1,500-square-foot space has tall ceilings with wooden beams and skylights.
- It’s a storefront filled with character, one Curtis hopes to give it a “swanky living room” feel with help from interior designer Ariene Bethea of Dressing Room Interiors.
[Related Axios story: Redecorating? These interior design services are only $125+]
How it works: The shop will carry Curtis’ own line of home bar supplies like glassware, strainers and other tools. Plus, it’ll sell bitters, cocktail kits, apparel, trays and other home goods.
- The Cocktailery will have an online shop, too.
- Curtis will also offer in-person private cocktail classes out of the Atherton location as well as continuing with her virtual services.
Zoom out: Atherton is quickly becoming the No. 1 destination for shopping. Yes, even ahead of malls. The developer, Edens, scooped up the trendiest retailers and seamlessly blended national names like Free People and Lululemon with local favorites like Society Social and, now, The Cocktailery.
- Eden’s representative Copeland Knapp tells me The Cocktailery “perfectly complements” Atherton and will be a “unique destination and experience” for Charlotteans.
[Related guide: Everything you need to know about South End’s Atherton development]
My thought bubble: It’s exciting to see a local-grown brand thrive, especially amid the pandemic. Curtis views Charlotte as the pilot location for The Cocktailery and hopes to expand into other cities one day.