Olympia wine shop to close

Owner cites problems downtown; new Ruston store beckons

rboone@theolympian.comDecember 31, 2013 

Customers and representatives of wine distributors come to do business in Olympic Wine Merchant in downtown Olympia, December 19, 2013.

PETER HALEY; STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Olympic Wine Merchant will close at the end of business Tuesday, ending an almost 10-year run of selling fine wines in downtown Olympia.

Owner Patrick Hub announced his intentions to customers and friends by email after Christmas. He had a final wine tasting Sunday and then continued to sell wines and say farewell Monday. The final day of business at 101 N. Capitol Way – the front door is on Fourth Avenue – is 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Hub cited two key reasons for closing the business, one of which is the opportunity to open a larger wine business in the Tacoma area.

If all goes as planned, Hub expects to open a store in Ruston by mid-2014 that will sell wine, offer tastings and sell food. It also will feature outdoor seating, he said Monday.

Hub added that in his new role he will be a co-owner and manager of the business. He also will likely come up with a new name for the business, but he will stay in touch with his customers, Hub said.

In his email to customers, he also mentioned the challenges of doing business downtown as another reason for the change, but he didn’t elaborate on those challenges Monday.

“The downtown issues are self-evident,” he said. “I see no need to characterize them any further.”

Hub, a former wine wholesaler, opened Olympic Wine Merchant in October 2004 after deciding that the South Sound needed his business. He took advantage of fall Arts Walk to generate customer traffic.

Business continued to grow until the recession, Hub said. Olympic Wine Merchant experienced the downturn like every other business, he said, and since has continued to bounce along the bottom for several years.

December was a good month for the wine seller, but sales will still be down from last year, Hub said.

Customer Steve Albrecht of Olympia stopped by the store Monday. He said Hub is knowledgeable about wine and steered him toward good choices.

“I appreciate what Patrick brought to the community,” said Albrecht.

Another downtown wine business, Classic Winemakers at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Adams Street, has a for-lease sign in the window.

Co-owner Josh Monti could not be reached Monday, but commercial real estate broker Chris Lane said the 3,055-square-foot space became available about 10 days ago.

Lane, a broker with Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, said the space doesn’t have a new tenant yet, but he has received several inquiries.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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