Bringing a Taste of Italy to Old Saybrook

Derrik & Kelley Kennedy, Owner

Sip Wine Bar

February 25, 2021 - Old Saybrook

After a trip to Italy and experiencing the culture, Derrik and Kelley Kennedy decided to open their own wine bar in their community of Old Saybrook, CT. Being first-time business owners, they worked closely with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center to understand the requirements of opening this business and did so successfully in November 2020.

business start

Business Start

November 2020

capital accessed

Capital Accessed


(Owner Capital Investment, Personal loan from Key Bank, Business loan from Liberty Bank)

jobs created

Jobs Created


CTSBDC & Sip Wine Bar: A Success Story

Owner: Derrik & Kelley Kennedy

Business Start Date: November 15, 2020

What Does Your Business Do?

Sip Wine Bar helps people explore the world of wine through over 20 wines by the glass and over 20 wines by the bottle.

What Inspired You to Start Your Business?

We wanted to be a part of the Old Saybrook business community.  Our love for wine and see a void in this service along the shoreline inspired us to open Sip Wine Bar.

Before Coming to the CTSBDC, What Were Your Primary Challenges and/or Needs?

Organizing all of the aspects of starting a business in Connecticut.  The SBDC was a great resource for having a conversation with trained professionals and really helped us organize our business plan which ultimately led to getting financing to open.

How Has the CTSBDC Helped You Overcome Your Challenges?

Working with Jim and the SBDC helped perfect our business plan, which led to our successful application for business financing.

What Have You Learned/Changed Since Working with the CTSBDC?

Jim helped us really understand the value of market data and perfecting our financial estimates for the business plan.  He helped us understand existing data within the bar and restaurant field, and how that related and differed from our estimates.

How is Your Business Doing Now? What Does Your Future Look Like?

We just finished our third month and each month has been profitable, in spite of a global pandemic, restrictions such as 50% capacity limitations, people's general fear of being in small spaces during the pandemic, and being a new business.  With being profitable in January, in a summer tourist town, we feel very excited and confident about our future.

What Was It Like Working With Your Advisor?

Jim was very approachable and not only took time to answer questions both in and out of scheduled meetings, but he was dedicated to our continued meetings.  He made sure that he was prepared for our meetings and laid out his expectations for our preparation as well.  After our last scheduled meeting, Jim continued to follow-up with our business' progress and success.  He genuinely cares about our business.

What Words of Advice Would You Give to Small Businesses Looking to Work with CTSBDC?

If you are dedicated to starting a business, working with the SBDC helps alleviate concerns, answers all of your questions, and points you in the direction of a smart, well-designed business strategy.

"Derrik had both a vision for this new business format in a great community and a passion for the product and service. He was able to take advantage of CTSBDC advising and also found great support from neighboring businesses that could have seen him as a competitor versus valuing his business as adding to the local vibrancy. Several helped him with his financial planning and have also become suppliers of food for sale on the premises or for delivery while patrons are enjoying their wine. He had the persistence to get the plan right and the guts to open in the midst of the pandemic. His perseverance has been rewarded with good patronage in spite of needing to limit crowd size in the interim. His creative use of new technology and the welcoming atmosphere he created bode well for a long and successful future for the business. It was a pleasure working with Derrik and I look forward to assisting with the next phase of expansion when appropriate."

- Jim Jackson, CTSBDC Business Advisor

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