We arrived in Panama City Beach December 2005, moving from Boone, N.C. The Wine Dog opened for business in early July of 2006.
We knew we wanted to start our own business but it took some thinking to come up with the idea of wine and cigars. The initial plan grew to cheeses, accessories, gift baskets and then later, craft beer.
Once the concept was born we needed a location. As a native Floridian, I have lived in many a tourist town. Locals will avoid places that are in the midst of the tourist attractions. We wanted to appeal to both the locals and the tourists, so we chose to go in town to Panama City, where locals live and the tourists visit.
Our name, The Wine Dog, was chosen because the business name is supposed to say something about what the business is...WINE...and the DOG part came about because we wanted to use the store to raise funds for homeless animals. We had been involved in animal rescue prior to moving to Bay County and wanted to continue helping to raise awareness. Our logo is a caricature of our dog Rufus, who is no longer with us. He was our first foster dog....who never left. lol
Our thought was that we would do fundraisers at the store and hoped that over time when people thought of The Wine Dog, they would think not only wine, beer and cigars, but would think about homeless animals. Most any day you stop in the store, one of our dogs is hanging out. Usually that would be Henry or Ashley. Their job is to meet and greet the customers and they take it very seriously. In fact they are pretty much a fixture in the store and on the days one or the other is not there, customers ask about them. I do enjoy having them there and it brings me great joy to see how they bring a smile to so many people.
Almost all of the wine in the store is hand selected and tasted by myself and our staff. We offer every day wines at every day prices, cellar wines, and a collection of "killer Wines" that are award winning best buys that are from $8.00 to $16.00.
We are currently (Jan. 01, 2018) in the process of building a wine and craft beer bar with small eclectic small plate menu and an outside deck in the back parking area. For now, we offer outdoor sidewalk seating.
The Wine Dog has grown to be everything we hoped it would be and we are an important part of the animal community raising over $22,000 annually for local animal non profits. We have become friends with many of our customers and our lives have become enriched because of all the people who share a bit of themselves when they come in to shop. Life is good..
We have relocated to 461 Harrison Avenue. Once on Harrison continue past 5th Street. We are the 5th business on the right...faded red canopy. If you come in from Grace Ave, we do have parking and an entrance in the back parking area.
Our logo is a caricature of him. Rufus was my very first foster project. He was a mess for a long time but he quickly took to his new life.