When David Bernat and Anthony Dinelli visited his office 18 months ago to describe their business plan, Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty smiled.
“Interesting,” he remembers telling the recent college graduates.
On Wednesday night, the Mayor was cutting the ribbon for their business, Cambridge Wine Cellars LLC.
“Now it’s for real!” said David, 22, as if he could scarcely believe it.
Parked on the Morris Street sidewalk in front of wine-sipping guests was the Vespa Vino motor scooter that has become the fledgling shop’s trademark since its “soft launch” last month. The vehicle delivers vino to diners at Morristown b.y.o.b. restaurants, and to customers’ homes.
Please click icon below for captions.
The Mayor seemed impressed.
“These guys are young entrepreneurs. My hat’s off to them…It’s been fun to watch. They have actually become serious young businessmen. They have a great future,” he said.
In addition to lots of wine, the celebration featured violinist Christiana Liberis, abstract paintings by Valerie Verona, and food from Godfather’s, the East Hanover pizza- and seafood restaurant that expects to open a branch next door to Cambridge Wines in November.
Anthony, 25, has worked for the Harvest restaurant chain. David’s family is in the restaurant business. They met as students at Manhattan College; they have gotten another education during their first weeks of operation.
“Running your own business is a lifestyle,” said Anthony. “We’re here every day. It’s a lot of hard work. But we know it will pay off.”
So far they have logged almost 1,000 miles on the scooter…costing them a grand total of $16 in gas, Anthony said.
Wednesday’s well wishers included some of David’s former classmates at Mendham High School.
“Teachers always underestimated him,” said Maddie Martin.
“He likes to be the center of attention always. They thought he was a troublemaker,” explained Gina Rizzo.
“Now look at him,” chimed in Melanie Appelgate.