This summer Titus Contracting has completed renovations for The Vine Room, an appealing new wine bar offering wines by the flight, glass and bottle, limited local beers and a range of cheese, fruit and charcuterie boards. The independently owned business set in historic downtown Hopkins is slated to open Aug. 16.
Owner Ali Hanson and her husband Drew once lived in Carpinteria, California (population 13,622) where they much enjoyed the small-town sense of community. When Hanson wanted to optimize her education in entrepreneurship, her business experience and her multiple wine certifications to open a bar in the North Star State, Hopkins seemed to have a similarly friendly vibe.
“On the weekends (in Carpinteria) you go to wine bars and wine tasting rooms — that was the weekend culture, to hang out and connect with friends,” she explains. “I feel like there’s an opportunity to bring the experience back to Minnesota. Here, all the engagement with people has been positive and the community has been welcoming. Lots of fun new businesses are bringing a fresh new energy to Hopkins, and it’s fun to be part of that.”
Calling herself the “culture creator” for the business, Hanson says she especially enjoys the history and storytelling that helps make wine fun and approachable for all. As such, The Vine Room will offer wine flights with different themes along with carefully selected cheeses, meats and fruits she calls “Boards and Bites.”
“So much about wine and wine culture is unique compared to anything else,” she notes. “No two bottles are alike. I’m bringing products here and sharing the story of where the wine came from to heighten the level of appreciation … and to teach fun tidbits about wine.”
When thinking about her dream locale for the place, she began with a clear design vision that included clean lines, a bright, welcoming vibe and a simple color palette. The location she chose at 756 Mainstreet in Hopkins presented an excellent starting point, then Titus worked with her to renovate the building to her standards. She chose Titus at the recommendation of her landlord, since Titus had already completed successful projects for other tenants of the downtown building.
“Brad has been great to work with, responsive and operating on the same team mentality,” she says of her Titus contractor. “The style is Scandinavian, but with a unique touch of modern, industrial and overall simplicity.”
The project did come with challenges, including multiple Health Department stipulations. Without a standard regulatory guide for opening a bar, she notes, she had to take initiative, ask lots of questions and work proactively with city, county and state officials to ensure all requirements were being met.
At times she also had to remind herself that quality construction takes time.
“Everything takes longer than anticipated,” she says. “I’ve learned to adapt and remind myself why I’m doing this and have fun at the same time, and not get stressed out along the way.”
Hanson's advice for other entrepreneurs undertaking building renovations?
“Reach out to those people who know what you need to do. Adapt, and switch roles as business owner, contractor, marketing, bookkeeper and HR. It’s important to have an understanding of all the roles, but to know where your time is best spent — and who to outsource to.”
Ultimately, she says, business owners can be their own best advocates by practicing effective stress relief, relaxing as much as possible and just enjoying the journey.
"Business owners can get so consumed," she concludes. “Set expectations, but stay excited and have fun in the process. Take one thing at a time and one day at a time. Make sure you still are taking care of yourself."
Find more information about The Vine Room
or by calling 952-300-3534. To talk to a Titus specialist about your own commercial building project, visit tituscontracting.com
or call 952-746-7817.
Written by Scott Rajavuori on August 13, 2019