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Business owner ‘leery’ of uncertain state plans

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Jackson Emery of Wine and Design delivers an order to a customer outside the Market Street shop Friday.

Wine and Design, a local “paint and sip” business, specializes in giving people a night out, according to Stefanie Allison, owner, but in this time of social distancing, they have designed opportunities for people to express their creativity while still maintaining the mandated time apart.

Although they have offered in-home classes before the current health crisis with what Allison called “on wheels,” they now are offering curbside pick-up plus virtual painting classes.

When contacted concerning the governor’s plan to reopen the state, beginning May 8, with a color-coded plan, Allison said that until there are more clear directives, she would continue with the current plan for her business.

“I don’t know what his intentions are and what businesses he’s going to allow to open up at this point, so we’re just going to do what we’ve been doing, with the take-home kits and some different take-home projects curbside,” Allison said.

Allison admitted that she was just a “little leery” of everything.

“Last night someone asked him if he was going to allow salons to be open and he said he wasn’t sure at this point, so I assume he doesn’t know which businesses he will allow to be open. I’m not going to bank on it until we’re there. I’ll make that decision at that time,” she added.

With over 6,000 projects available for customers to choose from, the business supplies the canvas, which has a design traced on it, paints and an artist who walks you through the process of creating your masterpiece.

“So, you sit down and you have a blank canvas in front of you, but we do trace them with a pencil so you have an outline of where to start,” she said, explaining what happens when someone attends a class at the business’ Market Street location or in someone’s home.

The instructor tells the painters where to paint first, what to paint next and how long to wait while your painting is drying.

“It’s kind of like paint by numbers,” she said. “You can pick your own colors to make your painting unique. You don’t have to make it look exactly like the instructor’s.

“You kind of develop this love-hate relationship throughout the process, but everybody usually come away and really, really are surprised by what they’re able to accomplish by the end of the class,” she shared.

The classes are open to all ages. The business has added a toddler class for children as young as 18 months, which is a mommy and me program.

“People are home with their kids during the day and there’s not a whole lot to do,” Allison said.

Acknowledging that the shutdown has been difficult for the business which is based on bringing people together for a fun night out, Allison said that the business is getting by. One way Wine and Design has done this is by adapting their business model to include paint kits to go.

“Having a nice price point for people to come curbside. We bring it out to you. It includes a traced canvas, your paint, paint brushes, an apron and basically an outline of how to start your project,” Allison said. The paint kits are offered at $25, she added.

People are then asked to share their finished projects on social media.

“We’ve had a lot of success with that…at least enough to pay the bills,” she said.

They are also offering virtual paint classes during the shutdown. For $15, using supplies on hand, members can attend a class online. Allison shared that the first virtual class maxed out at 1,000 people.

“It was wild,” she added.

Right now, Allison said that she’s looking ahead to when she can reopen her studio again. Kids’ camps are planned for June, something that was successful last summer. The camps are open to children six to twelve years of age.

“I’m really excited about that. Hopefully people are going to be wanting to do some stuff,” she said. “I know people are outside a lot, but being able to be a little more social and be in like a classroom setting might be beneficial to some kids,”

“I’m anxious to see how everything rolls out but I think we have a unique business here. People are really enjoying the paint kits and being able to do that at home and having something to do that their kids love,” she said.

As far as what’s ahead moving forward, Allison said that as soon as the governor gives the go ahead, Wine and Design will be ready to open.

For more information about what Wine and Design offers visit their website: https://www.wineanddesign.com/williamsport-pa/ or phone 570-846-0993.

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