By: Aimee Bingham Osinski firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the opportunity to visit Chelsea’s newest business this week. I stopped into Withington’s, located on Main Street just before Agricole Fresh Food Mart. I was immediately struck by the beauty of the store. It sells primarily wine and beer. But rather than ugly buzzing fluorescent lights and standard industrial tile floors, it felt like stepping inside an art gallery. Jay, the owner, immediately welcomed me inside.
Upon entering, I was drawn to the shop. I was distracted by the bottles lining the shelves. I took the opportunity to grab a hostess gift and another gift on my list. The owner Jay was extremely helpful and patient with my wine ignorance. I explained the hostess was a red wine drinker. He showed me several from different regions and started to tell me about the grapes. He was trying to help me look like I knew more about wine than the pink Boones we used to pool our change to buy in college. I saw a bottle of red with an owl on the label. I shouted “ohh an owl, “ and pointed, startling and interrupting Jay Friend as he spoke. He pulled the bottle down for me and I laughed as I shook my head that he’s trying to provide an education and I pick based on the picture on the label. Jay encouraged it and explained it’s a good way to learn what I like and I don’t. “Yeah, “ I said to my wine snob friend, silently. I don’t know the difference between a decent table wine or a treasure, but I’m fairly certain Jay helped me find something that makes me appear to have more knowledge and better taste than I do. If you don’t know much about wine and need help selecting a nice bottle, visit Withington’s. Jay will help you choose and won’t make you feel stupid for not knowing much. I paid for my purchase and attempted to focus and work.
I learned about Withington’s through a Facebook post by Jay’s wife, Katy. I noticed that Katy had attended a university out of state, so I was curious if Jay and Katy were from Michigan. Katy is originally from Grand Rapids and Jay has lived in Marquette, Birmingham, and Ann Arbor. Three years ago, they moved to Chelsea. Jay has worked nearly twenty years for a beer and wine distributor. When he saw the space become available, he wanted to follow his dream and open his own business. The decor of the shop is family inspired. Jay’s father is an artist. He’s done a few shows but he paints mostly for joy. Jay used his father’s art to create the theme of the store and it turned out wonderfully. Jay elaborated that he was raised in an artistic family. The benefit of shopping at Withington’s is that Jay knows the products, he can speak to the grapes, the location, and Michigan happens to be a great craft beer state and he has some vendors that normally only come to Ann Arbor so he has a selection that is not easy to find in this area. No need to drive to find that specialty beer. And, due to his background, anything made with a purpose and artfully done will grace the shelves, including beautiful coffee table books and coffee beans. Withington’s is open Monday- Sat 10-7pm and Sunday 12-5pm. The address is 112 N. Main St. If you’re looking for a nice gift to bring to a holiday gathering but you are unfortunately ignorant like me, Jay is happy to help and won’t laugh at your inexperience. For more information and to check out their products visit their website at: https://withingtons.mybigcommerce.com/.