After nearly 17 years in business, Tenino’s Scatter Creek Winery and Brewery is closing its doors on Dec. 23.
Andrea Keary opened the business with her husband in February of 2005, but said that certain life events over the last couple years have led to the decision to close the business.
“Many of you know we have had ongoing medical issues over the past few years,” Keary said in a news release. “With that said, we have made the decision to retire from the business. We want to make it very clear that it is not due to COVID — COVID definitely has not helped, but is not our reason.”
Keary told the Nisqually Valley News that Scatter Creek lost half of its business during the pandemic, and doesn’t want to sell that fact short, but the ultimate decision was entirely personal.
She said the move is bittersweet because she will miss her “amazing” customers but there are other things on the horizon that she and her husband, Terril, can now look forward to.
“With the sadness of missing you heavy on our hearts, there is excitement and joy with our new grandchild and soon to be two,” Keary said in the release. “Excitement in the new adventures in life (is) out there for us.”
She told the Nisqually Valley News the longevity of the business in Tenino and particularly the relationships she has built with her customer base have been her favorite part of the endeavor.
“Your customer base is everything,” Keary said. “We have people who found us in the very beginning and have followed us all the way through.”
She said with most stores, people go to a business because they like the product, but she feels like her customers came back for the lasting relationships she built with them.
“They (would say), ‘We come back because of you,’” Keary said. “That’s when I connected that they love our product (and) they love us. That’s why I know that we were the heartbeat of the business along with them.”
She said that a few people offered to buy the business, but all the offers fell flat because of the considerable time, effort and love the Kearys invested in the company.
“Someone could take it over and it could turn out fine and go on for somebody else, but we are Scatter Creek,” Keary said “It wouldn’t be the same.”
She said the business was a hub for the community.
“We built relationships,” Keary said. “You could come in and then you might be talking with the table two tables down. You might be laughing and joking.
“I’ve had people make friendships from there,” she said. “They would come in, and complete strangers at different tables became friends. I’ve had people meet and end up getting married. The sky’s the limit.”
Keary said her establishment has been the embodiment of the television show, “Cheers,” where everybody truly knew each other’s name.
The business opened as a garage winery in 2005 and was the first of its kind in a region of seven states. They worked out of the garage for seven years, while their customer base grew substantially.
That’s when the Kearys moved the business to its first dedicated storefront in downtown Tenino.
It didn’t take long for the Kearys to move six doors down Sussex Avenue to their current and final location, a venue that doubled the size of the storefront.
From there, the Kearys set their sights on a new facet of the business — the brewery.
Scatter Creek became one of the first two of three winery and brewery-combination businesses in the state in December of 2017.
Not long after, however, is when the family’s personal struggles began to overtake the functionality of the business, and the truth of the matter, Keary said, is she has grown “tired,” due to the hardships and is ready to focus entirely on the family.
In the future, Keary said she is excited to “work for somebody else” in a few year’s time.
But with the closing to come, there’s still some business to attend to, Keary said. She decided to put out one last call out to the Scatter Creek community, a rallying of the forces to help Tenino send off the business that hosted many events and festivals out of its welcoming doors. And Keary said she hopes the faithful will respond as they always have.
“Thank you for all your love and years of supporting this small business,” Keary said in the release. “You are the heartbeat of Scatter Creek. Please come visit us now through Dec. 23. A hug and visit is wanted and, for one last year, think (of) Scatter Creek for your holiday gift giving.”
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