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"Blue Slip Winery" and Linn Slocum are on the cutting edge of trends.

Blue Slip Winery


Knoxville,Tenn.- Linn Slocum is on the cutting edge of trends. She is the first owner of a Tennessee-based 'urban winery' --located in the downtown redevelopment district of Knoxville, Tennessee. The winery was established in 2009 by Slocum, an accomplished amateur wine-maker before she launched her full-time enterprise.


Urban wineries, under Tennessee state law, are allowed to import grapes from all over the county in order to make and sell their wines, but Linn Slocum mainly sources locally owned grapes and other fruits, and is known for her dessert wines, including strawberry and blackberry.


In 2012, after growing her winery slowly but surely, Slocum contacted Bruce Hayes, of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), an SBA-sponsored resource partner providing free counseling and workshops to the Tennessee small business community. In addition to providing counseling to Slocum on marketing her winery products, Hayes assisted Slocum in the purchase of an historic building in downtown Knoxville with an SBA-guaranteed loan. The previous owner of the building had made significant renovations to the building, enhancing the neighborhood and boosting attracting to the area. According to Hayes, “Hundreds of hours were spent discussing the financing options with investors, bankers and the SBA.”


In the early days of the winery, the staff consisted of family and close friends. During late 2009, and early 2010, they had to add two part time employees.


“Today, the winery has six full time employees, 2 part time employees and four contract workers for harvest,” notes Hayes.


The net worth of the company also increased as the value of the historic Southern Depot building has increased: “The building's value far exceeds the $2.5 million in investments,” says Hayes. The building also features and event center where weddings, food fairs and galas are conducted and presented.


The SBA was established in 1953 to help people get in business, stay in business, and grow their businesses. The Tennessee Small Business Development Center can be accessed at www.tsbdc.org, providing free counseling to all entrepreneurs. For more information on SBA loans and programs please visit the SBA website, www.sba.gov. or contact the SBA Tennessee District Office, (615) 736-5881, www.sba.gov/tn