Deal could keep Bliss Wine & Gifts open in downtown Wauconda

  • Wauconda's Bliss Wine & Gifts was supposed to close May 30 but could be sold and remain open.

    Wauconda's Bliss Wine & Gifts was supposed to close May 30 but could be sold and remain open. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Bliss Wine & Gifts was supposed to close May 30 but could be sold and remain open.

    Wauconda's Bliss Wine & Gifts was supposed to close May 30 but could be sold and remain open. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/22/2015 4:08 PM

A popular wine shop in downtown Wauconda won't close next week as planned, the store's co-owner announced.

Bliss Wine & Gifts, 201 S. Main St., was set to cease operations May 30. But owners Maria and Scott Weisbruch have tentatively struck a deal to sell the business and keep it open.

 

"We are thrilled that the torch is being passed to great people and that our employees will continue to have a home," Maria Weisbruch said. "And our wonderful customers can continue to enjoy Bliss."

Hawthorn Woods resident Jeff Slagter is the prospective buyer.

"We've got the foundation of an agreement in place," Slagter said. "We're working on the details."

Slagter said he and his wife, Jillian, "love downtown Wauconda" and have shopped at Bliss. They were among several entrepreneurs who approached the Weisbruchs about buying the store after the closure was announced in April.

Slagter said he hopes to retain the character and flavor of the business the Weisbruchs created.

"It's a great opportunity," he said.

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Bliss opened in May 2009 in the heart of the village's downtown strip.

In addition to selling wine and other products, Bliss has hosted live musical performances and has supported a variety of local events and charities.

Maria Weisbruch publicly revealed the pending sale at Tuesday's village board meeting. That night, the panel agreed to extend Bliss' liquor license until July 1 to allow for the sale to occur, staff training and other issues.

The license was set to expire May 31.

Slagter said he doesn't anticipate any disruptions in service during the transition.

"Everything (is) falling into place," he said.

Word of the sale spread through the community this week, prompting joyful reactions on social media.

"I am very happy to hear that there are potential buyers," local resident Nadline Gerling said on Facebook. "My hope is they are as passionate as Maria and Scott have been."

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