Jake Jacobs wasn’t expecting to open the doors at his new location during a pandemic. Fortunately for Jacobs, owner of Carolina Wine Merchants now operating at 1915 Bragg Street in Sanford, a couple of factors are working for him in a time when many other businesses are struggling.

The first is that Carolina Wine Merchants isn’t a new business, it’s just new to Sanford. Until recently, Jacobs had been operating in Pittsboro but said he decided to bring the shop closer to home, as he’s lived in Sanford for several years.

“I’ve been in the wine business for 40 years,” he said, noting that the wines he deals in aren’t really available anywhere else locally. “And I just wanted to bring something different to Sanford.”

The second factor is that, while the store will be a place for people to not just buy wine but also gather and have a glass, a huge portion of Jacobs’ business is done via mail order.

“I guess I was sort of set up for this virus a long time ago,” he said. “I do a lot of FedEx, and I’ve got customers all over North Carolina and all over the country.”

But while Jacobs is open for business and faring well enough, he said he’s ready for the pandemic to pass so he get get to work on his new space – he hasn’t yet put up a sign, for example, since the restriction on in store service makes it sort of useless – and get to work building a customer base in Sanford.

“Obviously I can’t open my doors right now for things like this, but I have a wine permit and I can sell wine by the glass and do things like tastings and maybe some specialty foods, and that’s what I want to do when this virus gets past us,” he said. “I want to groom new clients, because if I can teach you about wine, I can get to know your palate. And my goal isn’t to sell you wine, it’s to get to know your palate.”

Carolina Wine Merchants can be reached at (919) 349-2080.