Business Name: The Vine House
Owner: Kyndra Wilson
222 W. River Rd, Suite B, Ripon, Ca, 95366
How has your business been affected by the Corona Virus?
The Vine House has been affected in numerous ways by the Corona Virus, but mainly by not being able to implement or fulfill the 2 year operational plans I had for growth.
We just opened in Feb 2020 and had a wonderful 45 days of opening. The next step was to start a PR campaign and really get the word out that we just opened. However, because of the shelter in place orders, we had to jump to curbside service only and we were not prepared. This then caused us to lose revenue quickly and put a pause to all plans. We did the best we could, but come the end of April, I had to use 75% of our working capital and there was no loan assistance yet. I had to let go of employees, work only a “skeleton crew”, work my business to help with expenses, and ultimately drop all business plans and think on the fly for what we were going to do next.
Overall, The Vine House has been greatly affected by losing all capital reserves, not being able to grow like a new business should, and causing a lot of heartache and stress on not only myself but my employees as well. door permanently.
What does your business mean to you?
My business means the world to me. I have no children yet and it has literally become my baby. I love it, try to take care of it the best I can, and constantly worry about it.
Creating The Vine House meant more to me than just having a wine bar and bistro of my own. It meant creating a place for people to come and relax, enjoy themselves, create new memories with loved ones, all while enjoying wine and food that comes from the heart. I knew when I opened up this business, it was going to be the start of something magical for people to enjoy. And it has still done that in many ways despite this pandemic.
But to ask what it means to me… I simply can say.. everything!! This isn’t a hobby for me, it’s a passion of mine to be able to bring happiness and joy to others through hospitality and great wine and food.
What have you done to survive during this time?
We have pretty much done everything you can think of (lol). There are a few things we tried that absolutely did not work and that was offering meal prepped food and super discounted wine with food orders (shocking it didn’t work, I know). But a lot of what did work, and how we found our rhythm with curbside orders, were offering daily specials that were items not necessarily on our menu (chicken pot pies were a hit! who would have thought) and then collaborating with other businesses in the community and really try to team together on ideas or simply do social media shout outs as much as we could.
Marketing and all forms of marketing is what really got us through everything. It’s time consuming and a lot of work creatively, but the moment I started to “slack” on posting, our numbers went down. Also what helped us survive was asking for help.
It’s so embarrassing having to do that, and I’m the type that will always figure out a way to do it myself first, but I really had to let my guard down and ask for help. Whether it was financially, or to brain storm ideas with like minded people, or simply asking someone to just vent to, asking for help got us through the really hard times.
How do you keep a positive mindset during this difficult time?
Haha ummmm really just telling myself everything is going to be ok and nothing is permanent. I’m typically a very optimist person, but I’ve had some really dark moments. About a month ago, I spent 2 days in my house crying the whole time because I felt so lost and there was no hope in sight.
So I feel it takes having those “breakdown” moments to really get it out of your system and get you reset back into thinking positive and pushing through the negative thoughts. Another important thing is I never played the victim card or felt like a victim. We are ALL struggling. Each and everyone of us. It’s not just a case of bad luck or not running my business correctly, this is all out of my control.
So for me, I felt if there’s nothing I can do about it, why waste precious energy and time being mad or negative about it. A lot of self talk has really kept me positive and surrounding myself with like minded people. The power of manifestation and affirmation is key and it’s more powerful when you can do that with other people that think and feel the same way you do. Faith over fear always!!
How has this affected your family?
It has affected them in many different ways individually. I won’t go to much into detail out of respect for their privacy, but they all have struggled as well. I know they are worried about me, the business, and my employees, and that breaks my heart because I don’t want them to worry. But despite that, they have been my biggest cheerleaders, open and honest about advice on what next moves to make, and really trying to do all they can to help.
Why do you like doing business in Ripon?
The support, especially from the city and other businesses. I have never had so much community over competition happen in this town compared to surrounding cities. I’ve done business in other towns and there’s so much competition and no help.
In Ripon, everyone comes together to support and genuinely offer the support. You don’t even have to ask and someone is always there to go above and beyond for you. I’ve grown up in this town most my life and it has always been this way which I’m forever grateful for.
How can we as a community help you?
Continue to check in, be someone to talk to or vent to. Sometimes I feel all alone in my struggles (tho I 100% know I’m not) but the feeling of being overwhelmed and alone is hard.
So as a community, it’s so nice when someone just simply sends a message or stops by and says.. “you’re doing amazing, keep it up, we are here for you”. At the end of the day, we are in business for the community, so to know that we are keeping everyone happy with the services we provide, really helps keep us going.
Anything else that you would like to say?
With our current weather conditions starting to change and get worse, I encourage everyone to order more take out or curbside pick up. Add an extra bottle of wine or dessert or even a gift card to help with sales.
The patio only situation is starting to not become ideal and places are having to shut down for days at a time. This then causes employees to lose money, the business to not receive any revenue, and will cause a domino affect of hardships for the months to come.
We have to be able to get back operating inside and I’m not sure if it’s going to take a lot of help from our local representatives, but we need something to change soon!! Nothing makes sense financially anymore to still operate, and I know for myself my love and pride for my business is why we haven’t shut down entirely. If we want our businesses to stay open, we are going to have to push the governor to make new protocols.
Want to feature your business in our “Save Small Businesses” project?
Contact our studio at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 456-9353.
(We are only able to take on a limited number of these, but we are hoping to get at least several businesses info posted to spread awareness for all of the industries. We are #inthistogether )