WEDNESDAY NEWSLETTER

RSM, 2021-22
Paid support



CONTACT THE EDITOR

Letters, tips, corrections? Email preferred (Facebook and Facebook Messenger are not): publisher@yourarlington.com or call 781-641-4490.


AFD Theatre: Angel Street
Paid support

GOOD TASTE: Wine shop reaches out to arts community

Eric Faiola at Mystic Wine ShoppeEric Faiola at Mystic Wine Shoppe, where a grand-opening event is on tap.

The fortunes of the Faiola brothers extend to ancient enjoyments -- print and wine. The former relishes words, the latter taste.

On these touchstones, two businesses stand, tying Arlington ventures going back a half century.

What began as a spot in a garage on Brattle Street has grown to become Arlington Lithograph, on Schouler Court, and Mystic Wine Shoppe. At 910 Mass. Ave., next to Stop & Shop, the new store has opened. Look for a grand-opening event this month.

At the light-filled store, long the site of Anderson Florist, the owners are reaching out to the community, including those involved in the arts or those who just want a sip.

Craft beer tastings are held every Friday night, from 5 to 7. Wine tastings are every Saturday, from 3 to 5 p.m.

In a corner devoted to local artists, paintings by Adrienne Landry are showcased until April 30.

Printing and wine, whose histories saw a flowering in Renaissance Italy, have fashioned futures in Arlington guided by brothers of Italian heritage, Eric and Jake.

While Jake toiled for print customers at nearby Arlington Litho, we met with Eric and talked about wine, beer and how these businesses came to be.

The stand-up interview took place at a high table bearing wine logos and brands taken from wooden cases -- Trivento, Argentina, Ruffino 2006.

Why this business?

With the family's long connection to printing, why sell wine?

Calling himself "the average wine drinker," he said he is "learning as I go."

He said he has a personal interest in the wine and craft beer business and had a vision for his own wine store. Mostly, he said he recognized that Mystic Wine Shoppe was a great location, next to Stop & Shop and centrally located in Arlington.

His focus, learned working at Arlington Litho, is service. "I want to make customers feel comfortable," he said. "How do I want to be treated?"

He said he was told early on: You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. He learned to listen and looked for a solution for customers.

As we talked, an elderly woman came in, seeking wine for cooking. He listened, explained some options and the woman walked out, unsure. His eyes rolled.

Later, she returned. She had thought about what he had told her. She bought a bottle that filled the bill.

Savignon blanc / Sara Eberle photoSara Eberle photo

How the ventures took root

The story of the origin of Mystic Wine can take you back to 1963, when older Faiola brothers brought their printing experience gleaned at a company on Boston's waterfront and launched Arlington Lithograph in a garage near where the bikeway crosses Brattle today. They were Louis, Eric and Jake's grandfather; Edward (Eddie) and Hubert (Bert), both great-uncles.

They passed along a work ethic that Eric first experienced in the late 1970s at 14, when he was a student at Muzzey Junior High in Lexington. He started out painting and cleaning. Later, he worked the saddle-stitch machine, making booklets and boxing them.

During school vacations, he also drove a van, loaded with cartons of publications, including course catalogs -- which were printed then -- for Tufts and MIT. The latter got 20,000.

He was told: "Come on down to help the guys, and I did." He made minimum wage.

Jake, five years younger, followed a similar route later.

Eric got a business degree at Salem State, worked for Raytheon in Waltham in production control in 1987-88 and the next year came to work in sales for Arlington Litho, where he had been until Mystic Wine opened.

Key changes in the 1990s

The move toward Mystic Wine dates to the 1990s, when a confluence of events was leading toward changes in Arlington.

In 1993, a public vote began to loosen Arlington's stance as a dry town. The next year, selectmen set forth rules about alcohol and restaurant menus. In 1994-'95, Arlington Litho's owners -- who Eric said were long seeking another business -- bought the greenhouse/florist.

During the same period, the rise of the Internet brought signigficant changes to the printing industry.

As the number of wine-and-beer licenses increased in the past decade, Eric said he began driving near and far, looking at sites next to supermarkets. Trips took him to Lexington, Acton, Waltham and Stoneham, among others.

What he was seeking turned up in his own backyard: About five years ago, he learned about the availability of Anderson's, a building that needed much work.

Asked about the cost to renovate, Eric would say only it was "over budget."

Events push project forward

Two key events helped smooth the shop's way.

About a year ago, Eric addressed the location near Arlington High School by meeting with School Superintendent Kathleen Bodie and AHS Principal Mary Villano. He explained store security, cameras, and signs and said he would provide video if requested by schools. He believes this early discussion helped get the school administrators on board.

Then last summer, some luck.

After hearing six applicants make pitches, selectmen awarded two licenses last June -- to The Meat House and Mystic Wine.  That followed the surprise withdrawal of an application by by Johnnie's Foodmaster. Seen at the time as altruistic, the action was likely influenced by Johnnie's selling many of its stores later that year.

Eric offered glowing praise for John Maher, the former longtime town counsel, who represented Mystic Wine before the board.

Old friend fashions look

To shape the store's look, Faiola called on an old friend, Aram Maranian, a craftsman and the son of a former East Arlington printer, for some creative recycling.

From knotty pine salvaged from the original building, Maranian built the floor-to-ceiling wine cubbies, fashioning a modern touch from a staple of 1950s' decor. He also built the wine-tasting counter where we talked.

The floor is made of large, light-colored stones as you might see in a large patio. They were restored via scrubbing and coating.

The shop's layout is "by grape"; that is, your find your wine by exploring a region identified by its own grape -- Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio.

Among about 150 craft beers are Somerville Brewing Co., whose owners live in Arlington, as well as Bay State labels, from Nantucket, Cambridge and Plymouth.

Note there are three brands of gluten-free beers and organic wines, some sulfate-free.

The priciest bottle is Insignia by Joseph Phelps for $199.

Another old friend is the store's manager, 35-year liquor business veteran Mike Woodward. He has owned liquor stores in Burlington and Lexington.


Mystic Wine Shoppe is open seven days a week. Store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information, call Mystic Wine Shoppe at 781-646-2100. For updates on daily deals, weekly specials, calendar events and news, see the store’s Facebook community.


This story was published Wednesday, April 10, 2013. 

Your Businesses







FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below

 




Your Arts

Paid support

Your People

Housing Authority

Development

Your Police, Fire

About | Join | Register | Post opinionFAQs | Privacy | Newsletter

yourArlington.com • Massachusetts residents report about their town

A.J. Liebling: "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one." | Copyright © 2006-2021. All Rights Reserved.

site design: msgdesign.org