Doug and Susan Zucker, owners of Bridgewater Wines in Leland, plan to open a second wine shop, in Porters Neck in the spring of 2021.
The Zuckers said they knew from the beginning that Porters Neck was the right spot for a second location.
After searching for three or four months, they signed a lease for the new location on March 13, right around the time the first executive orders addressing bars and restaurants were being put into effect.
“Naturally we were a little scared and no one knew what we were headed towards at that point,” Doug Zucker said.
“It definitely wasn’t the right time to announce a second location,” added Suzan Zucker. “We weren’t even sure where our current business was headed.”
So the couple sat on the information for a while, focusing on how to best serve their loyal customer base. They saw an immediate uptick in retail sales, which sustained them throughout the period in which they could not offer dine-in service or their weekly tasting events.
“We were deemed an essential business and our customers made it clear that we were essential,” Susan Zucker said.
The Zuckers said they are happy to have been able to serve the customers they have built relationships by offering curbside pickup for meals as well as beer and wine.
They sold more wine in the month of April than they did in December of last year, the Zuckers said.
While the Cape Fear region’s breweries were closed for on-site consumption, Bridgewater was able to continue to supply their beers.
“We saw quite an uptick in beer sales because people in this area could continue to support their favorite breweries without having to travel over the bridge,” Doug Zucker said.
Bridgewater is now back to its regular service hours and offering dine-in seating for up to 18 people in compliance with state guidelines, and they continue to offer curbside service as well.
As for the new location, construction is expected to being shortly on a building that will be located at the end of the Interstate 140 connector, next to the new Holiday Inn Express.
The Zuckers said they are excited to be a part of this fast-growing area, which they feel is underserved in what they have to offer.
While the new location will be twice the size of their current space and offer outdoor seating, the Zuckers say they don’t intend to stray too far from what they know works for them.
“Seeing what we’ve accomplished and the way people have embraced us really motivates us to bring Bridgewater Wines to a new location,” Susan Zucker said.