LUSBY, Md. – In this week’s episode of “Get Real with Chris & Mark,” the spotlight shines on Carolyn and Mike Hart, the dynamic duo behind Patuxent Wine and Spirits, a beloved liquor store in Lusby, Maryland. Hosted by Chris Hill and Mark Frisco, this candid conversation delved into the couple’s fascinating journey from a simple idea to the thriving business it is today.
Reflecting on their venture’s origins, Mike recounted how a friend’s missed opportunity sparked the idea of owning a liquor store. Around 18 years ago, while working in the beer distribution business, Mike’s friend contemplated buying a store but ultimately didn’t pursue it. This seemingly minor event planted a seed in Mike’s mind, leading him down a path he hadn’t previously considered.
“One day, I’m driving, and we’re still in the business, and we’re just complaining like anybody else does about a job,” Mike explained. “And he goes, ‘You know, somebody ought to put a store there.’ And once we started walking down the road, you know, first of all, we’re just going to kick the tires on it a little bit, and then it just kept going.”
The journey to owning Patuxent Wine Spirits wasn’t without its challenges. Carolyn and Mike recounted their early struggles, including financial hurdles and the uncertainty that comes with entrepreneurship. Mike vividly remembered a time when the store was so quiet that he fell asleep in a chair, only to be awakened by a customer.
Carolyn emphasized that the first two years were particularly demanding, with Mike working seven days a week, pouring their hearts and souls into the store. “Everything that we owned went into that store,” she said.
According to Mike and Carolyn, what sets Patuxent Wine Spirits apart is their extensive product knowledge and unwavering commitment to customer service. Carolyn’s dedication to researching and understanding the entire industry, from wine to beer and more, has contributed to the store’s impressive variety of offerings.
Mike added, “You take ideas from the guys that do it right… and you still make a lot of mistakes… She researches everything, she reads, and she retains it. I see a lot of it, but I don’t always remember everything I see.”
Their commitment to the local community is evident in their willingness to go the extra mile. Whether it’s carrying purchases to customers’ cars or helping them find the perfect bottle for a special occasion, Patuxent Wine Spirits aims to provide exceptional service.
As the conversation drew to a close, Mike shared some insights into the liquor industry’s seasonal pricing strategies and the importance of staying competitive. He encouraged customers to take advantage of the store’s offerings in the coming weeks as they gear up for the fall season.
Ultimately, Patuxent Wine Spirits isn’t just a liquor store; it’s a cherished part of the Lusby community. Mike and Carolyn Hart’s story serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication it takes to transform a dream into a thriving reality. Their commitment to their customers and community is a shining example for aspiring entrepreneurs.
So, if you’re ever in Lusby, Maryland, and in need of exceptional service and a wide variety of spirits, you know where to go – Patuxent Wine Spirits, or as the locals affectionately call it, “Mike’s Place.”
Hear more of Carolyn & Mike’s story in the full episode: https://youtu.be/VRhESJo1R1s
Once a week, Century 21 New Millennium Realtors Chris Hill and Mark Frisco ‘Get Real’ with topics surrounding life in Southern Maryland while showcasing local business tastings and highlighting hidden gems in the area.
You can watch or listen to previous episodes at: www.thebaynet.com/podcasts
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