MASSILLON The Stark County Carryout Facebook group was started within days of the Stay at Home order issued for the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants, bakeries and others have become super star sellers since the creation of the group.
One of those is the Sangria Stand.
The Sangria Stand, 39 Lincoln Way E., is a shop in downtown Massillon offering fashions, home décor and cocktail accessories. The owners offer new experiences for customers through classes and workshops. There is a sangria, wine and a beer bar inside.
When the Stay at Home order was issued, owner Dori Heck knew she had to change something to keep in business so she started making sangria to go and started delivering it to customers at curbside.
Heck gets some help from her daughter, Lily, and her son’s girlfriend, Logan Miller. Heck opened the business six years ago but has been working toward opening a shop for 20 years.
“I started hosting wine and canvas painting classes at the Massillon Museum over 10 years ago,” Heck wrote in an email.” I would end up with lots of open bottles of wines and I strongly dislike waste or being wasteful. So, I looked up sangria and fell in love with the concept.”
Sangria is an alcoholic beverage from Spain that is traditionally a mix of wine, fruit and other ingredients or spirits. The sangrias Heck sells are in pitchers when ordering and consuming in the shop. With the more recent carryout and curbside pickup, they are sold in sealed mason jars.
The many unique and delicious varieties of sangria are Heck’s own special recipes.
“The sangria inspiration comes from all around,” she said. “For example, berry blast is a blast of all things red, rich in antioxidants and it was in honor of my dog. Folsom, which is another story. Super blue is so our skin stays bright and youthful. There are two important hours in the day, brunch and cocktail hour. Pear, banana and mango are my brunch go to’s while watermelon and mint, or pomegranate and blueberry are my cocktail hour drinks. We offer specialty sangrias made with kombucha tea during normal operating business days.”
Before the pandemic shutdown, Heck said the shop had a steady patio filled with sangria drinkers along with their party drinkers. Now, she said they have sold out twice of more than 500 pitchers (one pitcher fills two mason jars).
She believes they are so popular because people think the drink is good and because it doesn’t make people feel bad after drinking it.
She doesn’t want to share too much of her secret recipes but wrote in an email, “I really wanted to offer a drink that wouldn’t make people feel lousy the next day because of additives and sugar. I wanted my sangria to be made from fruits such as raspberry, blueberry, apple, banana, pear pomegranate, mango and cherries.”
She also likes to name her cocktail inspired sangrias after music. The mojito is called Excitable Boy, pomegranate hibiscus is Penny Lane and strawberry coconut is the Pink Lady.
Heck said her family has been “a significant help and I couldn’t do what we are doing now without them.”
They have showed up in a way that is unmeasurable,“ she added. ”I watch my kids take breaks during the day to keep up with their schoolwork and their own activities. My husband puts an apron on over his suit and tie, and we all manage to stay positive.”
Heck said the outpouring of support has been incredible and infectious. The repeat and new customers have kept the shop viable through some really rough times over the past year and through the shutdown.
"As everyone knows, downtown Massillon underwent a cosmetic overhaul this past year that lasted well into 9 months, costing small businesses close to everything they had to offer,“ she said. ”When the shutdown was announced, I felt so deflated, beat and just done. I had tapped every ounce I could. I made a silly post on Facebook, about needing to drink my inventory. Within the hour of that post, a group of sangria girlfriends showed up. They pointed out that I should let everyone know I deliver, and that pick up was an option. That plus the Facebook group Stark County Take Out has changed the entire dynamic of my life from depletion, to hope and potential.”
What happens now that the shutdown is being lifted? Heck said she is planning a party.
“As soon as I can have a healthy, safe and fun party, I'm going to celebrate with some of the nicest people around,” Heck said.
The Sangria Stand is open during the pandemic from 12 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Find it online at www.thesangriastand.patternbyetsy.com/shop. Call 330-265-6821 for more details.