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Conversations with Tiffany Harmon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Harmon. 

Hi Tiffany, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Southside Wine + Spirits was sparked from a love of community and not necessarily a career in the wine and spirits industry. In fact, I am a Certified Hand Therapist and was working full time in the orthopedic rehabilitation world before Southside Wine + Spirits was established in 2019. 

As a resident “South-sider” I have attended music in the park, block parties, art festivals, and plenty of school picnics and have always wondered why I couldn’t get a good glass of wine at these events. I found myself driving around St. Louis and all the surrounding counties visiting wine shops and thinking that South City really needed to up our game. Sooo I had a new project. I bought myself a laptop and set out to create a business plan. 

We started with a 700 square foot space with the plan of getting a liquor license, hosting a wine club through our website, and being the wine vendor at all those South City events that I had been to so many times before. Our customers quickly informed us that they wanted an in-person experience and this was the push we needed to give our little office a makeover for wine tastings and weekend shopping. 

In March of 2020, we held our last tasting at our original shop at 5017 Hampton Ave. The pandemic had landed and events were canceled. It didn’t look like my little side project wine company was gonna make it through. My husband quickly came to the rescue. He suggested curbside pickup and delivery to the surrounding area until I could wrap my head around what the pandemic would do. Meanwhile, I was still working full time in outpatient rehab and had two e-learning elementary kids at home. A few special people, they know who they are, worked shifts at the shop that was now open 7 days a week. A sign that said “Honk For Wine” directed customers to make a curbside purchase. Back at home we were getting all of our inventory on the website and syncing it with our point of sale to offer online shopping with touchless delivery. 

In May our lease at 5017 Hampton was up and we wanted more space, unfortunately, it was not available and we knew that customers could not return to a socially distant shopping experience in our teeny tiny shop. As luck would have it, space opened up across the street at 4920 Hampton. This would be our new home. We are always growing and expanding within these walls, adding more shelves, more wine, more spirits, and soo much more fun. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Nothing about starting and owning a business is smooth. We had to find the people and professionals that could help us where we needed all while sticking to the original mission we had set out to create. I have been more than blessed to have found my wine village. I truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. The people that work at the wine shop, our vendors, and our amazing community of customers have helped us through every struggle in their own way. Ken Deneal is now our office manager and our chance encounter a few years ago brought him into my life and he is my wine family. I am grateful every day that I have him to help me carry the load. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As my little kindergarten neighbor so elegantly put it “it’s not about the wine, it’s about the people”. Boy was she right. Southside Wine + Spirits wants to be a part of all of the celebrations that happen in South City. We know that with every glass you are creating memories and we want to be there with you. It’s not about an intimidating or expensive bottle of wine. It’s a great bottle of red that should be opened at the first smell of fall, the Prosecco that you and your neighbor shared during the pandemic when neighbors became family, the seltzer that is made by a local brewery and reminds you of your trip to the lake, or that fun little cocktail that you sipped as you took a stroll down Candy Cane Lane. Choosing the cocktail is just as fun as sipping the cocktail so every trip to our shop should be an experience. 

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
St. Louis is like no other. Small town vibes and a big city feel. I have visited other cities and plan to visit many more, but St. Louis will always call me home. I love everything about my city, the brick, the alleys, the chainlink fence that my neighbors and I talk over while our dogs bark at each other, the high school pride, and the links that make no one a stranger. 

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1 Comment

  1. Sharon Tuckey

    September 9, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    I just love this Wine Shop and Family!!

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