Business partners Nicole Hyatt and Mel Lescota attended the grand opening celebration of the SweetEasy coffee shop in downtown Elizabeth City on Wednesday.
In four months, Hyatt and Lescota hope to hold their own grand opening downtown.
Hyatt and Lescota plan to open 2 Souls Wine Bar in the former Overman and Stevenson Pharmacy storefront in November.
Renovations are still ongoing but when it opens, 2 Souls will be the only wine bar within an hour of Elizabeth City.
“We don’t have anything like that here,” said Lescota, who has been in the hospitality business for 20 years.
Hyatt, a Camden resident who has lived in the area for 12 years, has her own social marketing company called Nicole J. and some of her clients have downtown businesses.
“We wanted to be downtown,” Hyatt said. “We love the revitalization of the downtown and we love the nightlife downtown. I have the pulse of downtown Elizabeth City and the feel down here is energetic and exciting.’’
Once renovations are finished, the wine bar will offer “plush” seating as well as a bar.
“We looked at other places but when we walked in here, we knew this was the perfect fit,” Lescota said.
“It’s a place that where you can come in with your family or friends and sit in comfortable couches,” Hyatt added.
The business will feature a wide selection of wines “you can’t find in the store” and charcuterie boards, Hyatt said. Wine tastings will be a mainstay of 2 Souls.
“It will be premium selections, the best of the best,” Hyatt said. “If you come in and taste something and you fall in love with it, you can take it with you. We will use a lot of different distributors.’’
And, yes, there will be a selection of craft beers for those who don’t drink wine.
“We will have a few craft beers for our non-wine drinking friends,” Lescota said.
Both avid runners, Lescota and Hyatt met at the Currituck Family YMCA in Barco. Their friendship blossomed into a business partnership, which then led them to the idea for 2 Souls.
The pair started planning for their new business before the COVID-19 outbreak. While the pandemic may have slowed other businesses from opening, they decided to move forward.
“We actually thought this would be a great time to open a business,” Lescota said. “Everybody is sitting at home, they are bored and they are saving their money. They can’t spend their money anywhere, so we are going to open up so people can celebrate with their friends again.’’
Both Hyatt and Lescota will be at the wine bar full time and plan to hire “a few people to fill in the gaps.”
“We will be hosting and we will be serving,” Hyatt said.
“We will be in there working,” Lescota added. “We have the same determination, the same energy, the same passion for life.”
Both Hyatt and Lescota said they have received widespread support from other downtown business owners and from people across the area. They said they were especially appreciative of help from Shannon Baylor Henderson at the Eastern Women’s Entrepreneurship Center and Ginger O’Neal at College of The Albemarle’s Small Business Center.
“We have been amazed at the response,” Hyatt said. “It’s phenomenal the resources that are available to help you get your feet off the ground. We could not have done it without them.”