Dolly’s Wine Boutique to close in New Milford
After nearly 20 years as owners of Dolly’s Wine Boutique, Jeff and Dolly Bellamy are ready to move on to other ventures. They plan to close their longtime business in downtown New Milford.
“We’re ready to retire soon,” Dolly said. “We’re sad but we’re ready.”
Part of the boutique’s charm stems from its location. It is situated next to FineLine Theater Arts, in a small building between the railroad tracks and Railroad Street.
The building, land, caboose and liquor license are for sale.
The couple hopes an interested buyer will come forward and bring a new energy and life to the space.
“It’s got great potential for someone to come in and do great business,” Dolly said of the prime space located along a heavily trafficked road and plaza.
Vivian Cicero, of New Milford, first discovered Dolly’s Wine Boutique when she moved to town nearly 14 years ago and has since been a patron.
One of the things that drew her attention to the business was its quaintness.
“I find that the scale (of the space) is wonderful,” Cicero said of the boutique. “It affords very personal service, and they have an exceptional selection of wine, some of them rare finds.”
The Bellamys opened the business to create a unique shopping experience, one where women, especially, would feel comfortable to shop.
The boutique-style business, “really set us apart,” Dolly said of the business’ success.
Hand-picked wines and bourbons, handcrafted beer and other liquor sold in a variety of price ranges, the regular rotation of inventory and a 100-point rating system for wine have complemented the boutique-style atmosphere.
“Every bottle of wine here has a customer,” Dolly said.
The caboose was for four years home to an expanded gift shop and for six years served hot dogs. In recent times, it serves as the business’ office.
Now it is time to move on. Jeff is eager to focus on his music and car-building projects. Dolly will devote her time to her passion of making handcrafted gifts, such as hand-painted glasses, and gift baskets and totes, thousands of which have been sold at the business over the years.
Dolly began creating gift baskets and totes made from recycled wine boxes years ago. Since then, her creativity and products have blossomed.
“Everything she does is unique,” said resident and longtime customer Sue Poulter. “She’s so talented.”
Hand-painted wine glasses can be purchased separately, or be included in the specially-designed gift baskets and totes.
“This is what I love to do,” she said, glancing out at the boutique’s shelves, which showcase her artistry and skill.
In recent times, she developed a patent-pending product, Bottoms Up. The static cling product is a reusable sphere that rests on the bottom of a wine glass, serving as a wine charm and coaster bottom in one.
The popular product has been so well received, she said, she drew the attention of William Sonoma, where she conducted a trunk show.
She also specializes in holiday glitter houses, miniature wooden dollhouses and more, as well as baby mobiles and ornaments.
Custom houses, as well as personal photographs for some of the wine glass products, can be incorporated into many of her products.
The handwash-only glasses have been featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine.
Over the years, Cicero has purchased many of Dolly’s products and given them as hostess gifts and for other special occasions.
“She is so incredibly creative,” she said. “She astounds me. Everything she makes is just gorgeous.”
Dolly’s Wine Boutique, located at 73 Railroad St. in New Milford, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 860-354-5445. To view Dolly’s handmade items, visit Dolly’s Wine Boutique, mywineglasses.com and www.dollygifts.etsy.com.