Popular Wauconda wine shop has new owners

  • Bliss Wine & Gifts, a shop in downtown Wauconda, is being sold. The new owners are set to take over Feb. 13.

      Bliss Wine & Gifts, a shop in downtown Wauconda, is being sold. The new owners are set to take over Feb. 13. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer, 2012

 
 
Updated 1/30/2017 3:22 PM

A popular wine shop in downtown Wauconda is changing hands for the second time in less than two years.

Bliss Wine & Gifts owners Jeff and Jillian Slagter announced the pending transaction Monday in a message shared on the store's Facebook page.

 

"We have faith we're leaving the shop in good hands with capable new owners ... who will continue to evolve and progress Bliss while maintaining the essential character and experience," the message reads.

Jeff Slagter runs the day-to-day operations at Bliss, 201 S. Main St. In a telephone interview, he said he intends to be a stay-at-home dad for his two young sons.

In their public note, the Slagters thanked their customers for their loyalty.

"The people are what makes Bliss special and we've grown to appreciate that more each day we've been here," the note reads.

The new owners, Matt Froehlich and Hillary Nichols, are tentatively set to take over Feb. 13. They moved to the North Barrington area last year from Sonoma County, California -- a region known for its wineries.

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Froehlich said he worked as a consultant in supply chain management but also managed a small, personal vineyard in California.

He and Nichols pursued Bliss after friends mentioned the business was for sale.

"It felt right," he said. "There's a culture that goes with wine that's really fun. It's about sharing experiences and talking."

Bliss was founded by Wauconda-area residents Maria and Scott Weisbruch in 2009. In addition to its selection of bottled beverages, the shop is known for hosting live music and for supporting local charities and community events.

Maria Weisbruch now serves as executive director of the Wauconda Area Chamber of Commerce. She said she's excited the new owners will carry on the store's traditions of "great wines and local music."

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