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Cork and Cap opens for business in downtown Aiken

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Cork and Cap open for business in downtown Aiken  1

James Alford, left, and Erin Eisele are the owners of the Cork and Cap, a new business on Laurens Street in downtown Aiken. Also pictured is their daughter, Rosalee Alford.

Customers at the Cork and Cap can grab and go, but they also are welcome to linger for a while.

James Alford and his wife, Erin Eisele, own the new store in downtown Aiken.

Cork and Cap’s grand opening was Sept. 26.

“The concept is very much ‘retail-centric,’” Alford said. “The beating heart of the business is that we are a retailer of fine wine, craft beer and various types of gourmet goodies, everything from conservas to boiled peanuts. Basically, the idea behind the food part is to have little snacks that we feel complement the beverages that are in the store.”

Conservas are different kinds of tinned seafood such as wild cockles, smoked mussels and octopus in olive oil.

Cork and Cap is “a place to come for stocking up your wine cellar, buying a bottle for pizza night or getting snacks for a party,” Alford said.

But for those not in a hurry, Cork and Cap offers the opportunity to sit outside and enjoy a bottle of wine and some snacks from the store, perhaps before dining at a nearby restaurant.

On the store’s property, “we’ve got several little spaced out spots,” Alford said.

The atmosphere is casual.

“We are not a wine bar,” Alford said. “We don’t have table service, we don’t have servers, and we don’t have a bar. It’s not somewhere that you come and sit down to have lunch and be waited on. But you can stop and pause for a little bit.”

Alford is a veteran of the wine industry. He has created restaurant wine lists and also has worked in the importing and wholesale areas of the wine business.

Eisele serves as the communications and marketing manager for the Congaree Land Trust.

After graduating from South Aiken High School, she attended the College of Charleston and earned a degree in arts management.

Eisele also studied at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy.

Cork and Cap is at 146 Laurens Street N.W.

Operating hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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