I’m not certain how the term ‘Soft Opening’ began. I do understand its meaning in that it differentiates a business’ inception from a ‘Grand Opening.’ With the latter, you apparently just open the doors the first day of business and take what you get.
A ‘Soft Opening’ is intended to be more of a limited event where the business has an opportunity to “de-bug” and correct any issues with the operation without enduring the scrutiny that could result from a grand opening. Essentially, this is what we planned for by designating the weekend as a “by invitation only” event.
I must say thought, that the past two days, Friday & Saturday, April 21st and 22nd, were about as “Grand” as they could have been at our new Salida Wine Bar in Yelm, and there was nothing “soft” about it whatsoever. As each afternoon progressed, so did the crowd, and to the point where it became standing room only, even though we have roughly two dozen seats between the bar stools and the lounge chairs.
The atmosphere was a virtual party and certainly a celebration. Everything we had intended in our visualization of the Salida Wine Bar was much like a dream come true. There’s nothing like a little focus to get things rolling!
The salsa tunes on our satellite audio gave a festive Spanish flair but soon became a distant murmur as the crowd grew. The place was filled with bold laughter, animated chatter, the clinking of wine glasses, and the warmth of the folks of our community enjoying a place where they could gather and dive into our lineup of Iberian inspired wines and the yummy tapas prepared by Marlee Simmons.
Our servers did a fine job of staying on top of things and Johann Pool, our cyber-tech master, put together a great POS system with admirable patience and grace (even though we had some inevitable bugs). The interior feeling expresses exactly what we had in mind, a swath of warm yet bold Mediterranean color, a wall of glass to the north, subtle lighting, and a lovely radius bar with a huge smokey mirror across the entire back. Then, there’s “The Lions,” a riveting visual you just have to come and see.
Kudos to our guys, Tim and Kai Fyrst, master builders, who worked tirelessly to transform the suite to exactly what we envisioned, and to our “landlady” Margaret Clapp who gave us this wonderful opportunity and who is really a visionary in the evolution of our town. Thanks also to Kim McCrea, who’s knowledge and expertise in operating a wine bar provided a sound foundation for our beginning, and certainly to Greg Simmons who’s unbridled enthusiasm, focused and tireless efforts made this possible.
So next weekend, we transition to the “Grand Opening” so to speak, when we begin our normal business hours. Our desire to create a place in Yelm where friends and family can get together in a relaxed and casual setting has reached fruition. Soon, we’ll be offering some great special events and an eventual expansion on our tapas selections, so stay tuned and check back on our SalidaWine website for upcoming activities.