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Member Profile: Karen Hyatt

By: One Nevada Credit Union / 07 Nov 2016
Member Profile: Karen Hyatt

Member name: Karen Hyatt
Title: Owner, Vino 100 Reno, NV
Member since: 1987
Reno resident since: Since 1986, Carson City born and raised…I am a true Nevada Native!
Favorite thing about One Nevada: One Nevada is local, and has friendly employees and convenient locations.

Q: Can you tell us about your business?
Vino 100 is a local neighborhood wine shop with over 100 great wines for $25 or less. We taste and select wine based on price and quality. We change our wine by the glass menu weekly, offer wine flights nightly and microbrews. We serve hand-crafted Karentini's— special martini's you won't find anywhere else but Vino 100— and often feature free wine tastings!

We also offer corporate wine tastings, as well as private parties to celebrate special occasions—we'll even provide a caterer. We sell wine gifts and non-wine related items for your home or as gifts. Our store seats 45 people comfortably, plus our patio space.

Vino 100 is a locally owned wine store. We have gifts, gift bowls – we start with these amazing unique bowls then make them into a gift basket. Who wants a basket collecting dust in the garage? Do a gorgeous gift bowl instead! We have Martini's, wine tasting, appetizers, cocktails, craft beer, champagne, a patio and a friendly staff!

Q: Tell us about your career path and what led you to owning your own wine business?
I was in real estate, during that really ugly time when the bubble was bursting, lots of foreclosures and short sales, banks hadn't figured out how to deal with them yet, and my poor savings account was dwindling, as it was hard to eek out a living in real estate at that time. I had to take other jobs to make ends meet. I worked as the bar manger at Skyline Café, was modeling furs, worked for my brother at Carson City BBQ, and did whatever side jobs came along to make sure my mortgage was paid.

Q: Have you always aspired to own a wine business?
I had always dreamed of owning a wine store. My Brother, Phil saw Vino 100 listed for sale on, of all things, Craigslis!! We purchased the business. He put up the "dough," I put in the sweat equity and worked 80-85 hours per week for the first 18 months to get things whipped into shape. Our offer was accepted on Valentines Day and we took over the business on my birthday March 1, 2011 (well sort of, my birthday is Leap Year and there was no February 29 in 2011). In October of 2015, I purchased the business from my brother and made my last payment on it September 1, 2016! Whoot, whoot!! It feels like an awesome accomplishment! Free and clear, baby!

My husband Gary does the books, runs errands for the store, jumps in to make appetizers and is often seen polishing the glasses in the back. He's my "dish angel" and Mayor of Vino 100. Everyone loves him and can't wait to say hello. He's the guy who hugs, shakes hands and kisses babies! I'm very blessed to have him helping out. Gary is a retired police officer who spent 30 years in a very tough town, Richmond CA. He was shot while on the swat team by a murderer they were trying to arrest. He had three knee surgeries, finger surgery and is happy to be at Vino 100, which has lots of laughter and a bit less hostility! Gary is also a Vietnam Vet, having done 2 tours in Vietnam as a River Rat. He has a purple heart also.

Q: As a female business owner, what advice would you give to other women that want to start their own business but might find it too challenging?
I'd recommend doing some research about all of the taxes, fees, and licenses in your region. It might cost more than you think. Be prepared for this investment. Make sure to surround yourself with competent people and delegate to them. 24316_388886377591_6141795_nMake it clear to employees exactly what is expected of them and stick to your guns. Be prepared to work lots of hours for little pay in the beginning. It takes time to start making a profit and amortize initial investment.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face owning a business?
The biggest challenge for Vino 100 is the perception in Reno is that it's too far away. Reno is so small with virtually no traffic and a great freeway, so nothing is very far! Just come on over and have a good time. We are one minute off of the freeway!

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about owning your own business?
The biggest misconception about owning a small, local business is that you just make TONS of money, call all of the shots, take off whenever you want and have it made in the shade. The reality is that you work your tail off and have to build your business, make mistakes, correct them, do some trial and error, and figure things out. Plus you need to think outside the box to succeed. Nothing is handed to you and everything rests on your shoulders. Above all, do what you're passionate about and have fun. You will face many challenges, and if you don't love what you are doing, it will be complete drudgery! I love the wine industry so much and love every minute I spend at Vino 100!

Q: What are some of your favorite wines?
Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc(Napa), Le Monde Pinot Grigio (Italy), Handley Water Tower Chardonnay (Mendocino), Merry Edwards Pinot Noir (the first female winemaker to graduate from UC Davis), Crystal Basin Cellars, Cabernet Franc (Placerville), Trefethan Merlot (Napa), Opolo Mountain Zin (Opolo Mountain Zin (Paso Robles), CG DiArie Barbera (Amador County), and Brandlin Cab (Mount Veeder, Napa).

Q: Are you involved with any local charities?
We work with school fundraisers and Clause 4 a Cause. Smitty Smith is Santa Clause and raises money to support CAW at Christmastime. Plus, we go caroling at the Kids Kottage and bring each child a gift. We also have donated to the Humane Society, Breast Cancer, Leukemia, the Diabetes Foundation among others.

Q: What's your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like hiking, swimming, sailing, boating, cooking and having dinner parties, and believe it or not, going wine tasting!


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