Not every party store has a children’s area with toys to occupy tots while parents shop for beer, wine and specialty foods -- but Beer and Skittles does.
"We’re a family-friendly place," says Christine Horton, who co-owns Beer and Skittles with husband David Mitchell. "We want people to bring their kids in -- that’s a big focus. And we give kids free suckers so they don’t have to ask their parents to buy them anything."
Beer and Skittles opened in January with Horton and two sales associates. The "skittles" half of the store’s name is for a British pub game that Horton says is similar to bowling -- a fact that adds another spot of whimsy to the upscale Oakwood neighborhood retailer.
"We have a table-top version of the game in our store," Horton says.
Flavored olive oils and vinegars, English and Vermont Cheddar Cheeses and at least 12 flavors of hummus at any given time round out the specialty food items at Beer and Skittles.
"I love great food," she says, "but I have a strong belief that great food doesn’t have to be fussy, fancy, snooty or snobby."
Wine is priced at no more $25 a bottle and the 200 beers offered run the gamut from craft beers and Michigan-made brews to what Horton calls "the good old stand-bys."
"We carry Pabst Blue Ribbon and Stroh's," says Horton, who samples one beer from her stock every evening and then discounts it the following day.
"I’m no expert but I do love beer. I always have," she says. "My customers ask me about different beers and I’m educating myself so I know what to tell them."
Writer: Kelle Barr, Second Wave
Source: Christine Horton, co-owner, Beer and Skittles