(Pictured above holding the “check”: Beth and Clinton Ross)
Johnson City’s summer Co-Starters course, a 9-week business accelerator program, concluded this past Monday. Hosted by JRH Brewing, there was a great turnout on hand to watch 5 of the Co-Starters participants give great pitches where you could clearly see the passion in each one of them. In fact, one of the companies being pitched, an event planning and catering company called Mad B Productions, also catered for the event.
While every entrepreneur heard that night impressed everyone in attendance, someone had to win. The winner for this Co-Starters course was The Cellar. I did some Q & A with Beth and Clinton Ross, the founders of The Cellar, to give you a better idea of what their company is and what got them to this point!
Question: So tell me what your company, The Cellar, is:
Answer: “A boutique fine wine and craft beer retail store featuring a concise, curated selection and ongoing tasting experiences. The Cellar will feature free daily tastings, guided tasting events (by reservation), a case club subscription service, a wine tap system for growler fills, regional exclusives, and much more! Focusing on quality and value over quantity, our hand-picked selections will feature regional wines from Virginia and North Carolina, domestic producers, and international selections from trusted, like-minded importers. Coming this Fall to Downtown Johnson City!”
Question: What led you all to starting this company?
Answer: I think like many entrepreneurs, we are just setting out to solve a problem we discovered as consumers. As wine enthusiasts, we noticed that the Johnson City market doesn’t offer the importers and producers that we enjoy. While the beer market in Johnson City has seen, and tasted, the difference in popular brands of beer and local craft breweries, there isn’t someone offering the same emphasis in wine. We think that focusing on small, often family-run, producers with great value and individuality will be well received in the Johnson City market.
Question: How was Co-Starters helped with the development for the future of your business?
Answer: The co.starters program has been incredibly helpful. It has really helped hone our business plan and provided insight on vital areas of starting a business like finances and legal structures. Ashley (Cox) was a great facilitator and our fellow entrepreneurs had valuable input. It was exciting to see everybody’s ideas change and grow from week to week. Additionally, having the great weekly speakers, most often former Co.Starters participants, was equal parts sobering and encouraging. I’d highly recommend Co.Starters to anyone interested in starting a business.