CAPE CORAL, Fla. — As part of our "We're Open Southwest Florida" segment, Fox 4 wants to introduce you to the team behind Palace Pub & Wine in Cape Coral.
"We are both avid wine fans and started to research wine a lot, and learn," Ryan Lay, the owner of Palace Pub & Wine said.
He said that's what drove him, with the help of Naomi Biber, who's now a bartender at Palace, to open the shop in Cape Coral.
"In the learning process, we realized the lack of access to a certain product in Southwest Florida," Lay said. "It's not even work! Coming in every day and just working around wine, I realized I was meant to be in this industry."
Palace opened ten months ago in the Southeast Cape Coral entertainment district. Inside, you'll find a cozy, warm atmosphere. It's a place where you can kick your feet up, and feel right at home with your favorite glass of wine, but likely, even better: a taste of something new.
"For Southwest Florida to not have this here was kind of mind blowing and was the original inspiration. Just us wanting to try things and not being able to get our hands on it," Lay said.
He said since opening in June, they've seen overwhelming support. They've been able to have special events, including musical artists and DJs. But since Governor Ron Desantis issued the "Safer at Home" order, a place that's been focused on inviting you in has had to close their doors. But they found a way to stay open and serve you.
"We've switch to solely a retail operation. Doors are closed, we are literally taking online orders only. People pull up, we take it out to their car," Lay said. "We've got bottles and bottles of hand sanitizer, boxes of gloves here, we're taking all the steps."
And he's encouraging you to give Palace a shot.
"What we focus on is a curated selection. We have offerings that no one else from here to Naples has. We encourage people to reach out to us. We are more than happy to help you and give you recommendations," he said.
He said if you have questions about their products, reach out to them and ask before ordering anything online. They're happy to help. And they're taking that help one step further. Biber, the bartender at Palace, had to file for unemployment when the bar portion had to close.
"I was just getting stuck and realizing this is extremely daunting, and it seems like a lot of anxiety. How long is this application going to take? How long is it going to take to get anything from this?" she said.
So she compiled a complete list on Palace's website: everything she did, what other employees should do, what business owners and managers should do. It's all on the homepage of their website if you scroll down toward the bottom, in an easy to understand format, just to help others.
"We just want to support everyone. We just want to be part of what's going down, because it's history in the making, and that's the way we look at it," Lay said.
There's proof that he really believes that: he wore a "Nice Guys" T-shirt during the interview about his own business.
Palace has wines in the $15-$30 range, with some higher end wines as well.
Lay said they are willing to work with you and deliver in some circumstances. He also said he wants to hear from you after you try any wine from Palace, and get your thoughts.
You can find more information on Palace Pub & Wine and their online ordering process here.