What do you do when you see your hometown change at such a rapid rate before your eyes? Do you decide to move away? Fight back? Or do you decide to positively affect the ever-changing landscape? This stream of questions has become an everyday occurrence for many across the United States who have seen their hometowns subjected to gentrification. With gentrification, we often see displacement, but there are many opportunities for new small businesses to open, often in the food and beverage and hospitality industries.
Sisters and lifelong Inglewood, California, residents Leslie and LeAnn Jones are no strangers to change and have kept a consistent tribe over the years. “We see how things have changed around us as far as infrastructure, but when it comes to our core group of people, our village, my best friend lives across the street from me, my dad lives across the street from me. We've known these people our whole entire lives,” says Leslie. With their tribe, aka their “quarantine crew,” they share many special moments, which generally revolve around delicious meals and even better wine.
Prior to the pandemic, countless evenings were spent visiting wine bars and fine dining restaurants in different cities that stimulated local economies, but the Jones sisters realized that they wanted to create that experience right home in Inglewood. And so, the idea for 1010 Wine & Events was born. Leslie Jones is a wedding planner, and her younger sister LeAnn Jones is a lawyer. Together they balance each other workwise from a creative and business standpoint.
Mixing Family with Wine
“The benefits of working with my sister is that I trust her more than anyone. So it's amazing to have a business partner that is also someone that I trust. Even if we don't agree on decisions, I am open and willing to default to her because I know that I trust her judgment,” says LeAnn.
When doing their market research, the sisters noticed that their city did not have many sit-down dining experiences. Of those that were in business, there were very few that served alcohol. 1010 Wine & Events, once open, will be the first wine bar serving Inglewood. When asked about why they decided to open, Leslie says, “It was literally because we were tired of going outside of our neighborhood.”
Their brick-and-mortar location is housed in a former auto shop on 1010 N. La Brea Avenue and will be serving up one of the largest selections from Black winemakers in the state of California. What are some of their favorites, you ask? “Charles Woodson's [Intercept] cabernet we love. Aslina has an excellent cab as well and chardonnay. Black Girl Magic Red Blend [and] P. Harrell's riesling is amazing. Flo Moscato. All these we'll have at our bar. All these things we think are delicious,” says LeAnn.
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Their initial grand opening was set for April 2, the birthday of their late grandfather, who greatly inspired them both on their entrepreneurial paths. A lifelong entrepreneur who started his first business at 12 years old selling peanuts, the Jones sisters would recount seeing their grandfather in business meetings when they were children and how he would not take no for an answer. “That was something that was huge for us, and I think has really helped us through this process, because we started this journey a year and a half, two years ago, and we have heard more nos than we've heard yeses. So if we would have just stuck with the no’s, we wouldn't be at the point that we're at now, about to open. For me, it was really just his tenacity and his like, ‘I'm doing this no matter what,’ that has stuck with me,” says Leslie.
With building delays due to COVID, Inglewood’s first wine bar finally celebrated its grand opening on August 22.
Leslie and LeAnn hope that 1010 Wine & Events’ opening further fosters community in their backyard. “We want people to feel like 1010 is their home away from home. So that they can come, eat, drink, have a good time and it just be chill. We want to keep just those good vibes going when we open, and kind of be the place to go where you can celebrate, or if you need a drink because you had a hard day. If you need a familiar face, you know that you come there and that's the spot,” says Leslie. These hometown heroines are right on their way.