Two friends jump to create Wine Splash in Long Grove
Shelley Simon and Jennifer Moodhe opened Wine Splash six months ago in Long Grove. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:03AM
LONG GROVE — Their real estate agent ditched their appointment, but days later, Jennifer Moodhe and Shelley Simon had a location and a license for their wine boutique anyway.
How did they pull together a new business from scratch, in just days?
“A lot of people ask us that,” said Simon, beginning the tale.
“We love wine,” is Moodhe’s simple explanation.
While chatting about the business venture, Moodhe finished one of Simon’s sentences with ...”Let’s jump.”
“We didn’t think about it at all,” Simon said. “I think if you over-think things, you don’t do them, because it becomes scary.”
What Simon and Moodhe did is open Wine Splash, their wine and micro-brew beer store at 132 Old McHenry Road in Long Grove,
Open for six months now, customers can buy bottles to go or sit down and drink a glass with some of the shop’s cheeses, breads and sushi. There is a patio for the summer and the cafe’s fireplace for the winter.
Moodhe and Simon stock titles from around the world, currently featuring bottles hailing from Italy, South American nations, France and across the United States. Tastings are frequently on Wine Splash’s calendar, and they hosted their first champagne sampling last week. The January schedule includes a chili cook-off with craft beers and wines.
“We try to focus on small-production wines,” Moodhe said. “Most of our wines are 5,000 cases per vintage.”
She and Simon met six years ago, when Moodhe worked at a wine store in Barrington. They became friends, and on April 27, they got the notion of starting their own business together. Days later, they had an appointment with a real estate agent to look at an empty building in Long Grove.
The real estate agent never showed up, but that turned out to be a good thing.
With nothing else to do, the pair went shopping at Olivia’s Past, where they told owner Lynne Jankovec about their misadventure. Jankovec told them about property owner Mel Towner, who was looking for a tenant for what most recently had been an ice cream store. Towner also happened to be in front of that building at that moment, mowing the front lawn.
Simon and Moodhe said everything clicked that day. On May 9, they received their liquor license, renovations of the 1,500 square feet started on May 12, and Wine Splash opened its doors on June 12, with seating for 50 and parking for 12 cars.
“People came in and told us, ‘Boy, you guys have got guts,’” Simon said. “I have faith, not guts.”