The storefront landscape of Merchants Square will look different in a short time.
Hair of the DoG Bottle Shop is closing its doors around the end of the month, said owner and head chef, David Everett.
Hair of the DoG Bottle Shop opened in 2012. Everett said the need for a business primarily focused on specialty and craft beers was the driving force.
“There were lots of wine shops around, and places to get some beer, but nothing that we were carrying,” he said.
The shop has carried more than 300 craft beers, from locals to imported beers. Alongside their beers, the shop also sold cocktail mixers, seasoned peanuts, and gourmet foods.
“Since then, what has happened is that everyone has stepped up their game in the past five years,” Everett said.
Now, it’s easier for people to access craft beers in grocery stores closer to their neighborhoods, making a trip to Williamsburg unnecessary.
“We were bringing in a new group to Merchants Square and Williamsburg because there was nothing like that around here,” he said.
He added the pandemic was just the icing on the cake of reasons to close the shop.
“All these things are very personal to me, but business is business. We need to respond to the current environment, obviously in every which way, whether it’s COVID or something else,” he said.
The bottle shop has been selling everything, from their inventory to the light fixtures to even the equipment. Everett added the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is working closely with the shop to find another tenant for the space, but if they still have inventory left over, then they might stay open a little longer.
“I don’t know what else we’d do with this space,” he said.
Everett owns three restaurants in the Merchants Square area; Blue Talon Bistro on Prince George Street, La Piazza, formerly the Trellis, and the DoG Street Pub. He said he will focus on getting these restaurants through the pandemic while functioning on abbreviated menus and staff. While he agrees with the safety guidelines, he admitted they make it very difficult to run a business.
“Fifty percent inside is not a sustainable number,” he said.
With the help of the city, he managed to expand the outdoor seating of the restaurants, but as the weather cools down, he isn’t sure it will be enough.
“What will January look like for us?” he asked.
DoG Street Pub will still have pub peanut mixes and other products available in-store and online.
“We’ve had a nice ride. People were responsive, and I think we’ve done a lot of nice things for the community,” he said. “But it’s just the way things are.”
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