Hooked was bustling, and not just because of the construction next door. During a 50-degree day, with the sun shining, patrons were chatting away while enjoying their fresh coffees on the patio.
The wine bar, which also serves coffee and has a bookshop, opened last month inside the Red Cedar Development project on Michigan Avenue, sitting on the border of East Lansing and the Capital City. Matt Grossman co-owns Hooked with his wife, Sarah Reckhow. They are both professors at Michigan State University, and share a love for wine.
“We met in Berkeley, California, which is about 45 minutes from Napa and Sonoma,” Grossman said. “That was a big part of our romance and our lives in California. That’s our wine home.”
For a while, Grossman and Reckhow shipped wine into Michigan from California because there wasn’t a place in Greater Lansing that stocked their favorite wines. Their business plans grew from there. And while opening a wine bar was an obvious dream, adding the coffee and bookshop elements to Hooked came later in the planning stages.
Neither Grossman nor Reckham have any previous business experience, but they were eager to launch an establishment that is “an increasingly popular model in college towns.”
“It’s not just a separation of things, but the integration,” Grossman said.
The store offers guided learning through book clubs, builds taste with first-class products and gives community members a space to connect. At any given moment, either coffee or wine are being poured, with flights of the two beverages offered in a space adorned with thousands of books — some of which cover wine.
Aside from book clubs, Hooked also hosts coffee and wine clubs. The gatherings allow participants to taste their options before committing to two bottles of wine or two bags of coffee each month (for a monthly fee of $50 for the wine and $35 for coffee).
On Tuesday nights, there’s a Parent Happy Hour where the parents sip wine while the children listen to stories. Wednesdays are Wine Wednesdays, obviously, so there’s a wine and cheese tasting earlier in the evening, and a later wine and chocolate tasting.
Hooked has a lot on hand, and its distribution model allows access to products far and wide.
“Just like books, we have a regular ordering system for wine,” Grossman said. “Anything you don’t see — you can order and we’ll have it the next time you’re here. We want people to feel like this is their wine home.”
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