Less than a year ago, Yvonne and Richard Aguero took a trip to DeLand, Florida to participate in its monthly 4th Friday Artisan Alley and Art Walk Event with the intentions of learning how to start a monthly art walk in downtown Lakeland.
They walked away with more than they expected.
The couple was referred to Nest, an eclectic shop tucked away in Artisan Alley, featuring gifts, art, and more, similar to Yvonne and Richard’s store, Black Swan Bazaar, located in downtown Lakeland.
Yvonne and Richard couldn’t help but immediately identify an aspect of Nest that distinguishes it from its counterparts: the owners sell beer and wine to customers to drink as they browse the store. As the couple stood observing, they “noticed that people would go in and hang out and shop and hang out and shop. The more beer and wine they had, the more they shopped,” Richard said.
After talking with Rob and Teri Peaden, owners of Nest, Yvonne and Richard discovered that selling beer and wine is an added element to the small town business and helps pay the rent when snowbirds travel home during the summer months.
Yvonne and Richard know it’s something that has never been done in downtown Lakeland and thought it would be an exciting business venture. They began the process of receiving a license to sell alcoholic beverages and now hope to start serving on March 1.
They don’t consider owning and operating Black Swan Bazaar a hobby, but they’re not focused solely on the monetary aspect of their business, either. They believe that turning a profit will happen naturally if they generate a continually evolving inventory featuring something for everyone, and if Black Swan Bazaar is a place people want to visit. Their goals for the addition are to please existing customers, draw new shoppers in, and create an unparalleled identity for Black Swan Bazaar. Yvonne and Richard want the store to become a venue that lacks the atmosphere typical of bars and lounges.
“The really good thing about it for downtown is that we’re just trying to provide one more destination and one more reason for people to stay here,” Richard said.
Black Swan Bazaar will offer three to four types of craft beer and two to three types of wine, all in the $4-5 price range.
Richard plans to expand the existing cashier’s countertop to construct a serving area complete with bar stools. A semi-secluded seating area will be fabricated so customers have the option of perusing the store’s novelties or sitting while enjoying their beer and wine selections.
“I want to make sure that the thought process is we think this is something that will help downtown, help our business, and be a plus for our customers,” Richard said. “If it isn’t, we’ll try something else. We want to make it a unique shopping experience.”
Black Swan Bazaar is a mosaic of consignment items, original artwork from local artists, Rafa Natural products, and vintage, handmade jewelry assembled by Yvonne and Richard’s daughter, Nichole.
Black Swan Bazaar opened on McDonald St. in July 2010 and relocated to the current location, 229 N. Kentucky Ave., in January 2011.
Call (863) 510-5980 or visit http://www.blackswanbazaar.com for more information.