New ownership brings new ideas to a specialty market in Gloucester
Borrower : Kelsick Specialty Market
Where : Gloucester, VA
Loan Amount : $107,000
Project Type : Small Business Administration Loan
Paige Drewry wanted to join the Main Street movement in the Chesapeake Bay village of Gloucester. She found the right opportunity in Kelsick Specialty Market, which had brought cheese, fresh pasta, wine and craft beer to the small town’s Main Street for 25 years. Its previous owner, Beth Haskell, was ready to retire when 23-year-old Drewry saw an opportunity both for the market’s growth and a way to maximize her skills and remain her own boss.
A Johnson & Wales University graduate, Drewry’s first passion was wine. She traveled to Germany to learn more about it and visited 15 different vineyards while she was there and in France. She’d hoped to one day open her own vineyard, but ultimately realized the cost-prohibitive nature of the business and began to look in her own backyard for another venture. In 2018, her father, business consultant Wayne Drewry, heard the current owner wanted to retire and let his daughter know that Kelsick might be the way to start her career as an entrepreneur. Paige knew her knowledge of both fine wine and love of farm-to-table, locally produced food would be a perfect match for the products already sold at the market.
The shortage of large-scale catering in the area (and Drewry’s plans to expand catering services), as well as the community’s long-standing connection to the market impressed the team at Virginia Community Capital (VCC). VCC approved a Small Business Administration loan of $107,000 for the revitalized Kelsick Specialty Market.
Paige has also applied for a startup grant from the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and is taking classes related to running a small business in partnership with Retail Alliance, the retail merchants’ association of the Hampton Roads area.
For over two decades, Kelsick Specialty Market provided a small community with goods only found in larger cities. Drewry’s ownership will ensure the continuance of this beloved business supporting its customers throughout Gloucester County and Northern Neck. This area has come to depend upon the market for gourmet grab-and-go meals, among other things. She also expanded its catering arm to include larger events and increased its wine and craft beer inventory. Drewry also enhanced its social media presence and continues the market’s regular wine and beer tastings, as well as wine dinners with well-known vintners.
On June 2, Drewry won the Overall Retailer of the Year Award for 2019 from Retail Alliance, underscoring our own commitment to small, women-owned businesses.