Castlerigg Wine Shop: Carlisle's Cozy Gem

The Castlerigg Wine Shop is in a charming older building in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, replete with interior wood shutters on floor to ceiling double hung windows, 12-inch oak baseboard trim, an antique fireplace with intricately carved mantel and 9-feet tall solid wood pocket doors that exude sturdiness and character.  The delightful wine selection and gift shop with wine journals, local artisan goods and gadgets for wine aficionados adds to the ambiance.  
 
Alan Tumblin, owner of the shop, is a rather typical entrepreneur in many ways.  He grew up on a farm in Ohio and pursued college and graduate degrees in Agricultural Economics and Statistics.  During a twenty-six year career, working in the field he was educated for, Tumblin “started enjoying wine tasting rooms.”  He became interested in how wine is made, “which is both pure science and a lot of art.” About a decade ago he “started dreaming” about someday opening his own wine shop and at the age of fifty-two, when caught up in a corporate downsizing, he realized “it was now or never.”  “Things came together at the right time,” he said, “so, now I run a wine shop.” 
 
Tumblin began with six months of research, visiting nineteen Pennsylvania wineries, and ultimately partnered with two wineries who “had the best wine he’s had in the state.”  “Then, you folks came into play,” Tumblin said, “I didn’t really know how to proceed in starting a business.”  Tumblin had met the SBDC Director through a mutual friend and contacted the Shippensburg University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get consulting assistance.  Robin Burtner provided business consulting assistance and, Alan says, “Robin was phenomenal.”  “Even though your brochure says you don’t write a business plan….,” Alan remarked, “I would have been lost in the process without her. She filled in the pieces of the puzzle.”   
 
The SBDC helped Tumblin with research, business plan development and marketing suggestions, as well as with the basic issues related to regulations, etc.  Tumblin, with his mathematical prowess, had the cost structure down and, according to Robin, was quite good at developing his own financial projections based on the market data provided.   
 
Castlerigg is entering their third year of providing wine aficionados a convenient and classy setting. Tumblin currently offers fifty-six different wines, at price points between $12 - $45, and notes, “I offer a nice showcase of what two wineries can do with a grape. Too many wineries and you lose differentiation.”  You may sample any of the wines available for purchase at Castlerigg and enjoy a fine selection of appetizers.  Tumblin notes that the shop has become “more of a wine bar than I expected.”  It has become a popular meeting place in downtown Carlisle. 
 
Being a business owner “has been basically what I expected,” says Alan. He currently employs six part-time staff and he continues to make scheduling adjustments based on consumer demand.  Though sales increased about 7.5% in 2015 over the previous year, Alan acknowledges that there are still many challenges in store as he works to maintain Castlerigg Wine Shop as a successful enterprise in the future.