The Vine Wine Bar
Lynn Mione always dreamed of being a business owner. Little did she know that her love of wine and NYBDC would help make that dream come true.
The Vine Wine Bar is an upscale drinking establishment with a knowledgeable and attentive staff and an unpretentious atmosphere. The menu includes more than 60 varietals of wine – sold by the glass, the bottle and in flights -- from around the world (including Long Island), as well as beer, non–alcoholic beverages and an assortment of appetizers, light meals and desserts.
Mione stresses that one of the reasons for The Vine Wine Bar’s success is that the staff embraces the difference between selling a product and helping create an experience. Staff members are encouraged to share their own preferences with patrons and to pass on what they’ve learned. “It’s about starting a conversation,” said Mione. “Every time the customer comes back, they can have a completely different experience.”
Although Mione had no direct management experience in food & beverage/hospitality, she has years of experience from her work in retail management at international clothing companies. When she first started making inquiries about financing, traditional banks said no; it didn’t matter that in addition to her years of experience, Mione had an established income and substantial assets to invest in the project.
NYBDC understood the risks but also saw the potential.
NYBDC helped Mione secure the additional $100,000 in funding to open The Vine Wine Bar in 2010. As business continued to grow, Mione received approval for an additional loan and is working to expand into an adjacent storefront to meet the increasing demand for private parties and to host larger crowds for wine tastings, musical performances and popular psychic nights.
“NYBDC ‘gets’ it. They help you achieve your goals,” said Mione. “If your business plan is buttoned up, if your numbers line up, if contributions are in place, NYBDC helped me pull all of the pieces together. You don’t want a lending institution, you want a partner. NYBDC is that partner.”
“Lynn has built a profitable business, but, more importantly, she has built a community at The Vine Wine Bar,” said Steven Willard, NYBDC senior vice president, who helped her secure the financing. “It is exciting to see the business expanding to meet the needs of its customers, but also to see that Lynn uses the business as a platform to give back to that community. Shortly after opening the business, Lynn lost her mother to cancer. Rather than succumb to such a loss, Lynn rose to the challenge and uses the business to host fundraisers and raise awareness.”
With the additional space and a growing staff, Mione plans to stay the course for another three years and then consider opening another location using the same business model. With the correct partners and locations, Mione thinks that The Vine Wine Bar “could become the adult beverage version of Starbucks.”