Small Business Fund Nominee Stories & Voting

KARMA WINE BAR

Windsor, ON

FB: @karmatecumseh

IG: @karmawinebar

*Answers below are taken verbatim from entry.

BUSINESS BACKGROUND

After spending 25 years in the insurance industry, Karma owner Michelle Tremblay was ready for a change.   She learned to appreciate fine wine and great food from an early age when her Father introduced her to it.  Her love of wine only grew from there and she immersed herself in the world of food and wine on a regular basis.  As an executive she had the opportunity to plan and host many corporate meetings, parties and events.  She realized that her love of entertaining far outweighed her career in the corporate insurance world.  So, in March of 2018 she took a huge leap to enter in to a completely different industry, and Karma was created.

Karma is a cozy, intimate wine bar that invites you from the moment you walk in.  It’s “living room” feel is what our customers love and come often to experience.  Live music every friday and saturday make the setting even more fun and entertaining.

There is a rotating wine list that is sure to please every palate.  While not a restaurant, there are sharing foods available such as cheese and charcuterie boards & flatbreads

Karma is all about getting back what you put out in the world, and we are all about good vibes, friends, wine and Karma!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR STRATEGY THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC?

When the pandemic first hit, I decided to close thinking that if was only for a month I could handle it.   Once I realized that this was going to be a much longer time, I needed to figure out a strategy to do something to attempt to make enough revenue to at least cover my bills.  

Once the AGCO announced we could sell alcohol for takeout and delivery, I created a small menu and provided my charcuterie in boxes, sold the boards I make, and put together a few dinner kits which people could make at home.  This has proven to be working fairly well, and I'm now just offering the boxes and boards on Fridays and Saturdays by pre-order.  

I'm not sure what my strategy is going to be once we are able to re-open as there are too many unknowns right now as to what the rules & restrictions may be.  Karma is a small bar with a capacity of only 30 people inside, and 10 on the current patio area.  I have been offered use of some more outdoor space next to the bar, and if possible, I will get an extension on my liquor license and set up a tent with more seating out there to help increase the capacity.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC & SHUTDOWN AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?

It has affected the business greatly as Karma is a very unique, small, intimate and extremely social spot.  It's not a restaurant, and the experience is less about what's on the menu than it is about being there.  So not being able to have people there has been quite a detriment.

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