Local business toasts to rapid growth

Once Upon A Vine of Hernando County

Once Upon A Vine of Hernando CountyRetired school teacher, and wine connoisseur, Lori Stover is living her best second act in life. She and her partner, Pat Bassett, decided to take their passion for wine and turn it into a unique business.

In 2018, they opened Once Upon a Vine, a shop that offers clients the experience of creating their own wine. The process is done in their shop and takes approximately six weeks and yields 30 bottles of wine. The store also offers beer kits that make 65 bottles of beer.

“The thing that I’ve enjoyed most about our business so far is meeting new people and being able to share what we do with them,” Stover said. “We love our customers and our customers are very special to us. We just love what we do.”

Within the second month of business, Stover turned to the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber of Commerce has been a wonderful part of our business,” she said. “It was there that I heard about Bill and the SBDC, which was wonderful. We enjoy the networking. We enjoy meeting other business people in our area and we’ve gotten a lot of business from the chamber.”

Certified business consultant Bill Burnham and the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida team helped them with their marketing needs, such as developing creative strategies to boost awareness.

The strategies and networking have paid off. Once Upon A Vine has grown so much, that they needed a bigger location to accommodate the growth.

“We started out in a 700-square-foot building and within eight months, business increased dramatically and now we’re into over 2,000 square feet,” she said. “We now have more room to accommodate our customers, parties and get-togethers. It’s just a lot more room for people to work.”

Stover plans to continue to work with Burnham as the business continues to cultivate. “We’re going to be spending a lot more time with Bill asking him a little bit more difficult questions as our business expands. There are a lot of things that come up that you would never think of just in starting a business and we’re just really happy that we do have the SBDC to help us when we encounter challenges.”