The alphabet begins with ABC. But on the other end of the alphabet you can find XYZ.
Located right next to Marion’s first ABC store, XYZ opened for business on Monday at 476 East Court St. This new and attractive store specializes in craft beer, specialty wines and assorted spirits.
XYZ is owned by Sarah Elliott, her uncle Tim Elliott and Josh Moore. The trio hopes the local community will come there for craft beers, wines and other beverages.
Tim Elliott worked as the manager of the ABC store. While he was there, he often heard from customers that another one right beside it would really do well, if it only could offer beer and wine. “Customers kept saying there should be a place next door selling beer and wine and it would make a killing,” he said.
That gave him, his niece and Moore an idea. Tim Elliott retired from his job as manager of the ABC store but he and the others started talking about what could be done with the building next door, which is also owned by the city of Marion.
And when that building became available last year, they were finally able to turn this idea into a reality.
After months of work and renovations, XYZ is now open for business on East Court Street. In many ways, it is like similar stores you would find in Asheville and other surrounding areas.
“Our goal is to bring more craft beers and local wines to Marion,” said Sarah Elliott.
Western North Carolina has become known all over the world for its craft breweries, especially the ones in Asheville, Black Mountain, Brevard and Morganton. Small craft breweries are open in Spruce Pine, Burnsville and other small towns in the mountains.
“With Asheville growing, it was only a matter of time,” said Tim Elliott. “Western North Carolina is becoming the beer capital.”
Marion does not yet have a brewery but that is expected to change soon. McDowell County already has two wineries, South Creek and Belle Nicho. Silver Fork Winery is located along the McDowell-Burke county line. Linville Falls Winery is located just over the county line in Avery.
The owners of XYZ said they hope to offer these regional beverages and much more at their store. Unlike the big corporate chain stores such as Walmart and Ingles, their business is locally owned. They said their prices are competitive with Walmart and the other big chains.
“People should buy local,” said Tim Elliott. “You keep money in this town. A lot of people don’t realize that the ABC stores are on a city-county basis. The money will stay here.”
XYZ carries an assortment of wines. They include those popular ones made in North Carolina like Biltmore and Duplin. They also have a lot of California wines and others from various parts of the nation. The wine bottles are placed in an attractive cabinet.
“We’ve tried to offer everything from Dom Perignon down to the box wines,” said Tim Elliott.
The Elliotts and Moore said they would like to offer local wines like South Creek, Belle Nicho and Silver Fork but are still working out the details.
The beer selection is more Sarah Elliott’s specialty. The beers available at XYZ include western North Carolina brands as well as others from all over the nation. You will find products from Highland Brewing and Hi-Wire in Asheville, Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain, Catawba Brewing in Morganton, Nantahala Brewing, Oskar Blues in Brevard and others. The more well-known brands of beer like Dos Equis, Guinness, Shock Top, Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, Heineken, Landshark, Budweiser, Coors and Pabst Blue Ribbon can be found there too.
The spirits at XYZ are more like Smirnoff Ice, hard cider and hard lemonade.
XYZ has gift packages that are suitable for a wedding, birthday party or any other special occasion.
Tracy Kennedy of Marion was one of the people who dropped by during opening day on Monday. She was impressed with the look of the place, its tasteful décor and its selections.
“I think it’s beautiful, very well put together,” said Kennedy.
The owners of XYZ plan to host monthly beer and wine tastings in order to introduce new and different beverages to the local community. More information will be posted on the store’s Facebook page, they said.
They are also seeking a grant from the city of Marion to improve the look of their façade.
The owners want their customers to tell them what they would like to see in stock at XYZ. The store also sells ice for those who need it on their way to Lake James or a special occasion. Soft drinks and snacks can be bought there as well.
XYZ is the first in a series of other similar businesses that are expected to open in Marion during 2017 or early 2018. The taproom Refinery 13 at 13 N. Main St. is scheduled to be ready by the end of this month. Keeper’s Cut Meadery should be open later in the year along West Henderson Street. Mica Town Brewery is planned for the small building on Brown Drive and it could be running by the end of this year or early 2018.
“It’s a shot in the arm for this town,” said Tim Elliott.