BERLIN – Sisters in Berlin has made dreams come true by twisting the conventional retail store to include a beer and wine bar for shoppers to enjoy.
Last November, sisters Donna Sue Compher and Michael Ann Phillips had a serious talk about the idea of opening their own business.
“We wanted it to be unique, we wanted something different, and we knew that we could also do fundraising if we had the right space,” Phillips said.
On June 3, 2012, Sisters opened its doors after Compher and Phillips did their homework in deciding on the store’s location.
“We looked at three other towns before we decided on Berlin,” Phillips said. “This was the place that we wanted to be so we made a way to get here.”
Prior to Sisters, the space was an antique store, and when Compher and Phillips became interested it was empty and being renovated.
“It is the shopping experience that we wanted,” Phillips said of the concept behind Sisters. “With the help of a lot of family and friends, we are where we are today because of them and their support.”
Sisters transformed a 3,700-square-foot store into four sections of merchandise and entertainment to please everyone. The boutique carries baby items, children, teen, young adult and women’s items, such as jewelery and fashion and accessories. There is also a garden center, home décor, gourmet food and craft beer and wine.
The store is dedicated to the sisters’ mother, Sue Marine, who they lost in 2006 to lung cancer.
“The things that are in here remind us of her,” Phillips said. “She loved gardening and humming birds were her favorite. So we started with a gardening section, and from there we did the boutique area …”
Having the space to hold fundraisers was a top priority in building the business.
“Donna and I have always done fundraising for many years, and we wanted to be able to find a way to do it here,” Phillips said.
Fundraising events are held at Sisters every first and third Friday of every month, and 20 percent of the all bar and store sales are donated to the selected charity.
Sisters serves three local Maryland wines and up to 30 regional wines, plus over 40 craft beers. There are over 100 different wines for sale.
A comfortable lounge with a 60-inch TV and seating for at least 22 accompanies the bar. The bar is not limited to those over 21. There is also Shirley Temples, root beer and black cherry sodas for the younger crowd.
“We like to be family oriented,” Phillips said.
During the month of December, happy hour is being held daily from 4-6 p.m. There will also be Champagne Sundays starting at 1 p.m. with mimosas and the special drink of the day, a Poinsettia.
There is live music in the lounge the first three Friday nights of every month. The band, Spare Change, is usually on the scene with other local musicians filling in.
Sisters is also available for private parties and private tastings and can provide the catering for parties held at the store or guests can bring their own food.
Public beer and wine tastings are held at Sisters once or twice a month on the weekends. For more information on Sisters, tastings and other events, visit their Facebook page or website, www.sistersgwg.com.
Phillips said she enjoys seeing people’s reactions when they come into the store for the first time and see all that is offered, plus a beer and wine bar.
“We get so many compliments about how they love the store, a great idea with beer and wine, women will shop and men will sit drink a beer and watch football, so that’s fun for them,” she said.
Phillips added that business has been great so far and the store has been well received by the local community.
“Other store owners are very receptive of us and helpful,” she said. “It is a great networking community here in Berlin.”
During the holiday shopping season Sisters will be having sales up to 40 percent off merchandise.