Jim and Lynda McDevitt share a passion for traveling and all things wine. The couple is celebrating their 10th year as owners of Corner Wines at Lakeside Market.
“Wine has always been my passion,” Jim said. “I worked for a wine store in my early 20s. I used to sell and collect wine. I never gave up the idea of having a wine store eventually.”
Following his retirement from a career with the IRS, Jim said he was ready to start his own business. The couple did their homework, analyzed their customer base, customers’ shopping patterns and potential locations for the store.
“Lynda has worked in retail. She understood that side of it a little bit better than I did,” Jim said.
Several locations had the potential for a store thanks in part to the couple’s 5- to 10-minute commute requirement, but the McDevitts kept coming back to Lakeside Market. Purchasing inventory turned out to be the easier part of the process, Lynda said.
Throughout the years, the McDevitts said the store has become a destination for wine lovers. The
couple believes in providing a welcoming environment for their customers.
“We want them to feel comfortable. We want them to feel important and welcome. Our core customers have become friends,” Lynda said.
Offering varietals that customers appreciate is important, Jim said, so the McDevitts purchase wine to meet their shoppers’ tastes. Over time the owners have learned their customers’ preferences, which allows them to introduce new wines as well.
“It’s pressure. I have to find things they’ll enjoy. We try every wine before we bring it in,” Jim said.
But the boutique store features more than just an assortment of wine. Tastings are held the first Saturday of each month, and other specialty tastings pair select wines with food from local merchants.
“We’ve offered five different kinds of bacon with wine. One time we had pairings with sausage. We had an ice cream pairing,” Lynda said.
The McDevitts also host wine dinners and hold classes that cover a variety of wine topics with the help of a certified wine instructor.
Events such as these are not restricted to the store or area restaurants. The most anticipated events are trips to wineries throughout the world, Jim said. These excursions take place once or twice a year and include visits to wineries overseas. A trip this September will take customers to Italy.
“The trips are educational and introduce our customers to different wines. We just got back from Chile and Argentina,” Jim said. “[For our trip in September] we’ll include a city tour in Florence, Turin and Milan.”
Aside from traveling, the McDevitts also make giving back to the community a priority. Some tastings serve as fundraisers for local charitable
organizations. Donations come from ticket and wine sales.
“It’s a blessing,” Lynda said. “Who knew all of this would come out of a wine store?”