The village of Harlem is buzzing with concern about the future of the world renown historic locale. There is even a “Keep Harlem, Harlem” campaign that addresses the changing real estate and cultural landscape.Amongst the shifting Harlem dynamic, shop owners Wendell Parris and Iris Fraser know there is one constant regardless of what is happening around them; the warmth and level of service customers receive at WP Wine and Spirits. Opened in December 2013, the shop located at 254 East 125th Street hints at a sense of neighborhood nostalgia, from the warm orange awning over the door to the custom built oak fixtures. According to Parris, ” I want to offer something different than the average urban liquor store. Harlem is a village and we want to maintain that small neighborhood feel in an urban environment.”
Upon entering, customers get an old fashioned Mayberry like greeting by the owners and their hospitable staff. It doesn’t take long for customers to realize this charming space is packed with all the liquor standards and a robust selection of wines. “The quaint familiarity we extend make our customers feel like they are walking through their personal liquor cabinet” , says Fraser.
This is the first foray into retail and the plan is to have fun with it. Keeping within the strategy to stay above the fray, the calendar of events and social media campaign will be more like an ongoing house warming than just your average in store wine tastings and alcohol brand promotions. During this cold spell the duo will post warm drink recipes as well as food recipes with alcohol.
Thinking out of the box is an attribute of Parris, who also owns T&T Applications, a graphics installation company. The choice of East Harlem is counter to where most new businesses in Harlem are planting stakes. Parris and Fraser who live in Harlem’s Mt. Morris Park historic district , opened on the eastside to bring another level of service and value to those residents in a section of Harlem that is not getting the same attention as the Westside. According to Fraser, ” We want to underscore the vibrant history of East Harlem and continue to grow with the community.”
Parris and Fraser extend an open invitation stop by and say hello. It’s just downright neighborly.
WP Wine and Spirits is a purveyor of alcohol brands located at 254 East 125th Street, New York, NY. The location carries a wide variety of brands, both classic and niche in an neighborly setting. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to Midnight, Monday through Saturday and Noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Phone 212-321-4291. www.WPWineandSpirits.com.