Meet Your Merchant: Bella Fiore is a family affair
About three years ago, Arturo Mena’s son, Chad, approached him about opening a Carson City business that would focus on a mutual passion: Wine.
The father and son decided they would go into business together and opened Bella Fiore Wines in a storefront on Third Street.
“Wine is good for you, it really is good for you, especially the red wine,” Arturo Mena, 58, said. “We always had a little collection of wine in my house and my son talked me into opening something.”
The wine bar offers a wide variety of brands such as Caymus, Dom Perignon and Provenance Vineyards. Individual bottles are sold there as are meat and cheese boards, dessert wines and merchandise, including sculptures of wine and liquor bottles that Mena creates in his personal kiln. Their bar also serves cocktails and beer.
Besides the retail side of the business, Mena said people can rent the wine bar for a night to host private parties.
Bella Fiore also offers happy hours, including a “singles night” on Monday and Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m., which includes half priced glasses, and an “over the hump” night on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. that features two for one drinks.
Mena said they also will host a wine tasting on Sept. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. for $15. They will feature Twisted Oak Winery and will provide meat and cheese boards.
Since opening in May 2008, Arturo Mena said the experience has been both rewarding and demanding, given the recession.
They run the business with Arturo’s colleague, Debbie Boehner, 59, and Chad Mena’s wife, Brandy.
All four of them split shifts throughout the week, dividing time between the wine bar and their other professions: Arturo Mena and Boehner work in the Silver Legacy’s marketing department, Chad Mena, 35, for the state and Brandy Mena as a nurse at a private practice in Carson City.
“Between our hours and their hours we try to keep this place open,” Arturo Mena said.
The down economy also has meant reducing hours and losing a bartender.
“After three years we’re still open, so we’ve been doing OK,” Mena said. “We’re struggling to pay the bills and the taxes, but we get in there little by little.”
Mena said he would like more revenue to hire a bartender or two, perhaps expand the business to create a private dinning room.
“It’s tough to own a business, especially during this recession, I hope it gets better,” Mena said. “It’s been a great opportunity – whatever happens, happens – this location is excellent, I don’t really have anything bad to say about the business.”