The store, Ficklin-Wilcox, has yet to open, but the concept sounds interesting, and the company behind it - the widely respected Ficklin Vineyards -- certainly knows what it's doing. The family-owned business has been going strong since 1946.
I just got off the phone with Liz Wilcox of Ficklin Vineyards in Madera. I called her to ask about the jobs and what kind of people they are looking for. Turns out, you don't have to be a certified sommelier or a bona fide food snob to get hired. The most important thing is you have to be good with people and you must have a sincere appreciation for sales and service.
Ficklin-Wilcox will be a wine tasting room as well as a kitchen store. In the back, there will be a classroom space for seminars, lectures, cooking demonstrations, etc. The store will have a full line of pots and pans, kitchen gadgets, barware and all kinds of other products related to food and wine.
Wilcox is excited to be coming to Midtown. The store was initially going to open in November, but the permitting process is nothing if not laborious, and it is almost always slower than one imagines. So now she's aiming for January and will have to wait 11 months for the kind of Christmas shopping momentum she was hoping for.
As for the jobs, Wilcox says they are planning to hire eight people to start. And like many good companies, they're seeking quality people more than they are experts in food and wine.
"We're looking for people who are very sales and service oriented," she said. "We're a neighborhood store. When you're part of a community that is so tightly knit the way Midtown is, it fuels the community type of environment."
As we continued to discuss the kinds of employees who would succeed there, Wilcox added, "Who is much more important than what. We hire the best people we can and then we can teach product knowledge. People who are good with people and good with sales is much more important."
We'll continue to keep our eye on this new venture and let you know when it's about to open.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.