Underdog Wine Co. to Open Second Location in Union Hill – Feast Magazine

By: Pete Dulin

September, 14 2016

Today Ryan and Jenny Sciara announced that their retail wine shop will add a second location on the first floor of the McGee Building at 2984 Gillham Road in Union Hill. Underdog Wine, a current next-door neighbor to Cafe Europa in Crestwood, will again be near the restaurant at its second location in the new development. By mid-November, the Sciaras plan to open the new 956-square-foot location with more room for storage and an office.

“The area is growing and about to explode with more growth,” Ryan says. “I can recapture that market. I love the proximity to downtown and Children’s Mercy, Truman, UMKC, Halllmark, Crown Center, Hyde Park, Midtown, etc.”

Since its spring 2014 debut in the Crestwood Shops, Underdog Wine has gained a steady following for its selection of premium “underdog” wines from small-production and more exclusive wineries. Ryan also provides exceptional service and an in-depth knowledge of wine. He is available at the store daily to interact with both seasoned wine buyers and newcomers who have questions about the selection.

The Union Hill space will increase Underdog’s reach to customers throughout the city.

“We were able to carve out exactly how much space we wanted and take no more than we needed,” Ryan says. “The majority of my business in Crestwood comes from about two miles. Union Hill is over three miles away from here. The location opens me up to another part of town and expands our reach. It gets me closer to downtown, where I know I still have a lot of customers that just don’t make it as far south as 55th Street.”

Formerly, Ryan was a partner in Cellar Rat Wine Merchants in the Crossroads. When he opened the flagship Underdog Wine store in Crestwood, he was drawn to its narrow, cozy 600-square-foot space as an alternative to warehouse-style liquor stores. Ryan will replicate many elements of the Crestwood shop’s design and continue to offer the high level of service that makes Underdog appealing to customers. The Union Hill space will feature similar lighting, flooring and custom shelves built by Second Life Studios.

“I made sure the space we were carving out would be a shotgun just like Crestwood so we can use our progressive [display] set-up – organized by weight and body, then price – in Union Hill as well,” Ryan says. “Our set-up is definitely unique in KC and hopefully makes the wine shopping experience less intimidating by breaking it down in a simple manner to follow. Our shelf talkers (tags) give a nice little snapshot of the wine’s aroma, flavors, body and finish. It is not just points from some magazine. A big effort will be to build the wine club like we have done in Crestwood.”

Underdog typically carries wines from producers not found at other retail shops in the city as well as a small array of craft beer and spirits. At the new shop, Ryan notes, “We will carry more craft beer, spirits, mixers and add sake, which I just don’t have room for here.”

Acquiring the Union Hill space was no easy task. Ryan confirms that it involved a long process of discussion and negotiation; he’s been talking to the developer in Union Hill for almost two years about the plan. Now, Ryan and Jenny are excited that the new shop and expanded operations are coming to fruition.

“We could have just stayed with Crestwood but I really believe in Union Hill, and I get to be next to Cafe Europa again,” he says. “I’ve got an awesome manager that will run Union Hill for me. I will spend most of my time in Crestwood and split it up in Union Hill. I was at a weird point where it is either grow or stay this size with one location which isn’t easy to do. Crestwood alone doesn’t have enough hours for me to give to someone with the knowledge and service that is expected. With two locations and potentially a third later, I can build a team of great people that share the vision.”

Underdog Wine Co., 319 E. 55th St., Crestwood Shops, Brookside, and 2984 Gillham Road, Union Hill, 816.286.4139, underdogwinekc.com

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