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Business Sponsor:

Unique Tastes Wine & Liquor

1677 NY Route 25 / Middle Country Road
Ridge, NY 11961

Caryle Francis - Unique Tastes

On October 15, 2021, college sweethearts Caryle Francis and Keibo Bryan opened the doors to Unique Tastes.

Caryle and Keibo had long dreamed of having their own wine and liquor store, and Covid was the ultimate nudge for them to take the leap and achieve their dream. In pursuit of finding the ideal location, Caryle and Keibo conducted some market and demographic research about various communities in the region.

It became clear that the community of Ridge clearly needed a store, as there were none in the zip code. Caryle and Keibo had a desire to fill that void, and Ridge is so glad they did. There is rarely if ever a time you can walk through the doors of Unique Tastes and not hear a cheerful, honey-voiced “hello!” greet you—which is remarkable since both Caryle and Keibo also maintain their healthcare careers while staying active in the Ridge community.

The arduous task of establishing their own business from the ground up was a bit nerve wracking, but in the end they found the process very fulfilling. They are most happy with the way that the greater Ridge community so actively engages with and encourages them.

“Ridge customers literally help us develop the inventory of the store,” Caryle explains. During various tastings on Fridays and Saturdays, for example, Caryle and Keibo will say to their guests, “Taste it for Ridge. Does Ridge need this product?” Customer feedback on new products help them better tailor what they carry for the community. That’s one aspect of what makes their shop truly unique. Tastings also give customers something to look forward to. It’s a fun atmosphere at the end of a long workweek and it enables Caryle and Keibo to get to know local residents even better.

Both proprietors are astute observers of each person who walks in the door. “How’s your spirit today?” they’ll ask as you come in. “What’s your mission today?” If someone indicates that they’re purchasing a gift for someone else, a series of smart questions helps Caryle and Keibo guide the customer to the best product for that particular occasion. If customers provide sufficient advance notice, special orders can bring in items that aren’t regularly on the shelves.

Another unique aspect to this shop is how Caryle and Keibo so enthusiastically engage with the greater Ridge community. They’ve sponsored special wine tastings at Leisure Village and Leisure Knolls as well as at Spring Lake in Middle Island. They regularly donate to Longwood PTA groups and sports teams. They hold an active business membership in Ridge Civic Association and are sponsoring our fall 2023 membership drive.

“What’s really unique for us being in Ridge,” Keibo says, “is the day-to-day interaction with neighbors and being able to put a smile on people’s faces. This is not a huge store where you’re wondering who’s here and why.” Relationship building is what it all comes down to. “Over the last two years, we’ve created relationships with a diverse range of people who live in this community.”

Caryle adds, “There’s a beautiful spirit that we enable between and among customers who come in and share an appreciation for a particular product. Regardless of anyone’s background, all are welcome here at Unique Tastes.”

“Life is hard out there,” Caryle declares, “but in Unique Tastes things are easy. Come see for yourselves.”

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