Sunday October 28, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- A South County wine shop has signed a lease with Big Y Foods that will allow the business to relocate inside the Springfield-based chain’s supermarket on South Main Street.

Grape Finds will change its name to Cellarbrations once the move is officially completed next Friday, said owner Gene Faul of Sheffield.

The business has been located in a separate location inside the Big Y Shopping Plaza for most of the 10 years it has been in existence. But the move inside the supermarket occurred after a deal to sell the business to local wine entrepreneur Joseph Nejaime fell through this summer, according to Faul.

"Big Y had been after me to either locate in the Rite Aid space [in the shopping plaza] or somewhere in the store," Faul said. "The deal got sweeter and sweeter, and I said OK because we always wanted to be in their store."

The two parties have agreed to a five-year lease with a five-year option, according to Faul. Cellar brations will occupy 2,000 square feet of space inside the supermarket.

"They gave us a prime location in front of the meat market and behind the produce," Faul said.

Faul, who describes the business as a "package store specializing in wine," said Cellarbrations will have the same staff and general manager, Joe Sme gal, when it moves inside the supermarket.

However, Faul does plan to expand the shop’s offerings after the move takes place. He is interested in featuring wines that are recommended by nationally known wine connoisseurs Doug Frost and Anthony Dias Blue, and Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Milligan, the couple who wrote "Wine For Dummies."

"I’m going to form the ‘Rock Stars of Wine’ and have them select the wines they really like and have them in the store," Faul said.

"I think the hook we would have with these personalities is that they are masters of wine and understand wine, and we would have them talking it up on the Web," he said. "That’s a longer-term plan that has merit, and most of the people that I talk to agree.

"We want to make it a little bit different than the average store that sells wine," Faul said.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.
On Twitter: @TonyDobrow