As the owner of three party stores, Sam Shango instantly recognized the need for a specialty adult beverage shop in downtown Charlotte.
After a few months of searching, Shango found the right space at the right time. With a little ingenuity, a little marketing, and a lot of applied knowledge, Shango opened the doors to Cork and Bottle in early October and brought an outlet for craft beer, wine and liquor to the town 30 minutes southwest of Lansing.
"It's not your average party store," says Shango. "We have 5,200 square feet of micro brews, wines from local regions, and craft liquors. Anything made in Michigan, you'll find here."
For Shango, it's all about location, location, location as well as selection, selection, selection. The vacated grocery store a few blocks west of Charlotte's business district
provided ample visibility, while the space itself was easily adaptable to products displayed in warehouse style.
"When it comes to stores like this it's not so much about the physical store, it's what inside," says Shango. "We're a specialty place, and we're all about the product."
Originally from Detroit, Shango settled in Greater Lansing after attending college in the area. He's both a wine sommelier and a beer cicerone, and trains his staff in the finer points of adult beverages.
"If you come in here and you're looking for a particular type of wine, we'll find you a bottle that will suit you taste," he says. "We'll do that with beer and liquor, too, and we'll win you in quality and price."
Shango loves the regional trends he's seeing in beer, wine and liquors, particularly when it gives him the opportunity to meet the people who make the product.
"We actually 'sell' the people along with the beverage," remarks Shango. "It's a good feeling to be able to tell customers about the people who make the beer, wine or liquor, and to help them succeed, too."
Cork and Bottle also carries basic pantry staples and convenience foods. The store created 11 jobs and became Shango's fourth operation behind similar stores like the Rainbow Party Store
in DeWitt, St. Johns and Detroit. He's currently looking to expand his concept across mid-Michigan.
Source: Sam Shango, Owner, Cork and Bottle
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor