Theresa “Terry” Rogers has lived in the Harbor Point neighborhood of Stamford’s South End for the past three and a half years. Now, many of her neighbors are becoming her customers, too.
Launched July 12, the opening of Harbor Point Wines & Spirits, at 130 Washington Blvd., fulfills a long-standing goal for Rogers, who also owns Horseneck Wines & Liquors in downtown Greenwich. With her local connections and subject expertise, she is aiming to build a community of connoisseurs with the new establishment.
“From being in the business for 40 years, I’m extremely excited about now being able to be in an area that’s probably 70 to 80 percent millennials, who are excited about being taught about wines,” Rogers said in an interview last week at the store.
The 1,347-square-foot establishment carries about 300 products. Its wines come from states and countries including California, Oregon, Australia, Argentina, France and Spain. Wines sell from $10 to $150.
“Anything that comes into the store must pass my lips,” Rogers said. “If it sells for $15, it has to taste like a $20 wine. I will go through a number of different products, in a variety of categories, in order to come up with that particular wine that I’m going to put on the shelf.”
In addition to wines and “brown” and “white” spirits, other offerings include beers produced by Stamford-based Half Full Brewery and Stratford-based Two Roads.
A mural of California’s Napa Valley painted by artist Lydia Larson and ceiling work by another artist, Karen Rossi, provide the backdrop.
“We’re not a big ‘warehouse’ of wines,” said manager Jerry Gleason. “We have 189 wines on the shelf. It’s all curated.”
To increase customer engagement, the store is hosting afternoon tastings and weekly classes, as well as initiatives such as a dog-of-the-week feature for patrons with four-legged companions.
Rogers, who lives in the neighboring Infinity apartment building with her husband, said she also wants to collaborate with neighboring restaurants on events such as wine dinners. The store stands yards away from a bustling restaurant row on Harbor Point Road whose lineup includes Sign of the Whale, Boothbay Lobster, Bareburger, Fortina and Mexicue.
Meanwhile, business will continue as usual, at Horseneck Wines & Liquors, which Rogers has owned since 1989.
“I want everybody to feel like they’re family here at Harbor Point Wines & Spirits when they come in with their strollers, babies or dogs,” Rogers said. “When somebody comes in, they want to see a big smile on our faces, they want to see us happy and they want us to take care of them.”
The store’s floor-to-ceiling windows have already generated a steady supply of business. Stamford resident Sonya D. Van Norden, who works out at the neighboring Exhale fitness and spa center, followed the store’s construction during recent months.
“Now, that they’re open, it’s a great addition to the neighborhood,” Van Norden said during a visit last Thursday. “I’ve been impressed by their customer service.”
Among other recent arrivals in Harbor Point, Coffee Spot opened in April, down the street, at 24 Harbor Point Road. Two months earlier, Mexicue debuted at 15 Harbor Point Road.
Across the street from Mexicue, the owners of Patisserie Salzburg — which has two cafes in Westchester County, N.Y. — plan to open a third location later this year at 2 Harbor Point Road.
Building and Land Technology, the Stamford-based developer that owns Harbor Point Wines & Spirits’ building and many of the surrounding buildings, hopes to bring in another restaurant at 18 Harbor Point Road, where World of Beer closed at the beginning of this year.