A Journey of Empowerment Through Water into Wine with Candace Viox

A Journey of Empowerment Through Water into Wine with Candace Viox

In this episode, Eric Whitener sits down with Candace Viox, the owner of Water into Wine, Bistro & Lounge, to discuss her journey of opening a unique, community-focused establishment and the challenges she faced as a woman business owner. The conversation explores the vibrant Farragut community, the importance of supporting local businesses, and Candace's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Table of Contents

Candace's Background and Farragut Roots

Candace Viox's journey is deeply intertwined with the Farragut community, marking a significant chapter in her life that began in 1992. Moving from Orange County, California, amidst the Rodney King beatings, her family sought safety and stability in the welcoming arms of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Early Life and Transition

Her transition to Farragut during her senior year of high school, although initially met with reluctance, laid the foundation for her enduring connection to the area. This move was not just a change of scenery but a pivotal moment that would shape her future endeavors and aspirations.

Building a Life in Farragut

Living in the Concord Hills neighborhood, Candace appreciates the unique charm of old Farragut, from the sturdiness of full wood doors to the tranquility provided by spacious lots and mature trees. This setting has not only been her home for over a decade but also a source of inspiration for her business venture.

Candace's Journey to Opening Water into Wine

The inception of Water into Wine, Bistro & Lounge, stems from Candace's personal and professional evolution, marked by significant life events and a keen observation of the community's needs.

A Time of Reflection and Reset

Following the sudden loss of her mother and undergoing a divorce, Candace found herself at a crossroads. With a family to support and a desire to redefine her life's direction, she turned to education and a deep dive into the local business landscape.

Identifying a Community Need

Recognizing the absence of a sophisticated social venue in Farragut, she envisioned a place where the community could gather, not around televisions, but around each other. This vision was fueled by her appreciation for craft cocktails and quality wines, a nod to her Californian roots.

The Concept and Atmosphere of Water into Wine

Water into Wine embodies Candace's vision of a warm, inviting space that fosters community interaction and connection, free from the distractions of modern technology.

A Welcoming Space

The layout, designed with a central bar to encourage conversation, and areas for more intimate gatherings, reflects her commitment to creating a vibrant social hub. The absence of televisions underscores the importance of face-to-face interactions.

Curating a Unique Experience

From the selection of wines and bourbons to the introduction of live music, every element of Water into Wine is carefully chosen to enhance the guest experience. This attention to detail has not only garnered accolades but also solidified its place as a cherished venue in the community.

Candace's Commitment to Community and Safety

Underpinning the success of Water into Wine is Candace's dedication to creating a safe, inclusive environment, where every guest feels valued and protected.

Respecting Personal Space

The establishment's policies, such as the respectful approach to offering drinks to solo patrons, reflect a deep respect for individual preferences and boundaries. This practice ensures a comfortable atmosphere for everyone, especially women navigating social spaces independently.

Promoting Safety through Innovation

The introduction of The Angel Shot, an initiative aimed at providing discreet assistance to individuals feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, underscores Water into Wine's role as a safe haven within the community. This innovative approach not only offers immediate support but also raises awareness about the importance of safety in social settings.

Through her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to community values, Candace Viox has created more than just a business; she has fostered a space where connections are made, stories are shared, and everyone is welcome. Water into Wine stands as a testament to the power of vision, dedication, and the profound impact of providing a safe, welcoming environment for all.

The Menu and Ingredients at Water into Wine

At the heart of Water into Wine, the focus on premium quality ingredients and a meticulously curated menu stands out as a testament to Candace Viox's commitment to excellence. This bistro and lounge isn't just about the wine; it's a culinary adventure.

Commitment to Quality

Water into Wine prides itself on sourcing the finest ingredients, from Norwegian salmon to locally sourced filet medallions. The emphasis on freshness and quality is evident, with deliveries arriving twice weekly to ensure that every dish served is of the highest standard.

A Culinary Experience

The menu, though not extensive, is crafted to perfection. Each dish, from the charcuterie boards with homemade jams to the freshly cooked chicken breasts, is prepared with an attention to detail that elevates the dining experience. This dedication to providing spectacular food has set Water into Wine apart in the culinary scene.

Candace's Experience Opening a Business in Farragut

Opening Water into Wine in Farragut was a journey filled with challenges and opportunities. Candace's story is one of perseverance, community engagement, and a deep love for her town.

Navigating Local Politics and Community Expectations

The process of securing a business license in Farragut was a testament to Candace's determination and her ability to convey her vision to the local authorities. Despite Farragut's reputation for being tough on business, Candace found support and encouragement by actively participating in community affairs and aligning her business with the town's values.

Fostering Community Relations

Candace's efforts to engage with local leaders and community initiatives underscore her commitment not only to her business but also to the welfare of Farragut. Her proactive approach in collaborating with the Farragut Business Alliance and other community projects demonstrates a model for successful business integration into local ecosystems.

Candace's Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

For those looking to embark on their entrepreneurial journey, Candace offers insights grounded in her own experiences of opening and running a successful business.

Do Your Homework

Understanding the nuts and bolts of the industry you're entering is crucial. Candace emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience and thorough research. Whether it's learning the specifics of restaurant management or the intricacies of local business regulations, knowledge is key.

Be Prepared for Challenges

Starting a business is not without its hurdles. Candace advises aspiring entrepreneurs to be ready for unexpected challenges, from fluctuating costs to navigating local laws. Resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from every situation are essential traits for success.

Candace's Perspective on the Knoxville/Farragut Area

The Knoxville/Farragut area, with its unique blend of community spirit and entrepreneurial opportunities, holds a special place in Candace's heart.

A Community of Growth and Support

Candace views the area as a vibrant community that supports local businesses and fosters growth. The collaborative environment, coupled with the residents' loyalty to local establishments, creates a fertile ground for entrepreneurs.

Challenges and Opportunities

While excited about the area's development, Candace also expresses concern over the pace of growth and its impact on the community's character. Balancing progress with preservation is a challenge she acknowledges, emphasizing the importance of community involvement in shaping the future of Farragut.

Through her journey with Water into Wine, Candace Viox has not only created a successful establishment but also contributed significantly to the Farragut community. Her insights offer valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and highlight the importance of quality, perseverance, and community engagement in building a thriving business.

Candace's Recommendations for Newcomers

For those newly arriving in the Knoxville/Farragut area, Candace offers a treasure trove of recommendations that capture the essence of local living and community support.

Embrace Local Businesses

First and foremost, Candace champions the support of local businesses. Whether it's enjoying a meal at a local bistro, indulging in a massage from a neighborhood spa, or picking up unique finds at a local boutique, she believes in the power of investing in the community. This approach not only fosters local economic growth but also builds a network of mutual support among business owners.

Engage in Community Activities

Candace encourages newcomers to dive into the rich array of community activities available. From the simple joy of pickleball – a sport gaining traction among all age groups – to exploring the scenic beauty of local parks and rivers, there's no shortage of ways to connect with the area and its residents. She highlights how these activities offer both leisure and a pathway to forming lasting friendships within the community.

Discover the Outdoors

With a landscape as diverse and inviting as Knoxville's, Candace advises all newcomers to explore the natural wonders of the region. From the majestic lakes to the serene trails of the Smoky Mountains, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike will find themselves spoilt for choice. This exploration not only aids in appreciating the area's beauty but also in understanding the local ethos of conservation and outdoor living.

Closing Thoughts and Advice

Candace's journey and insights offer invaluable advice for anyone looking to make their mark in the Knoxville/Farragut area, whether as a business owner or a new resident.

Integrate into the Community

Integration into the community is key. Candace's story is a testament to the benefits of engaging with local events, supporting fellow businesses, and participating in community activities. This not only helps in understanding the local market and consumer needs but also in building a support system that is crucial for personal and professional growth.

Patience and Persistence

Success doesn't come overnight. Candace's experience underscores the importance of patience and persistence, especially in the face of challenges. Newcomers are encouraged to stay committed to their vision, be ready to adapt, and always be open to learning from both successes and setbacks.

Embrace the Local Pace and Values

Finally, adjusting to the local pace and embracing Southern values of kindness, community support, and hospitality can make a world of difference. Candace's advice to "slow down" in both driving and day-to-day interactions highlights the importance of adapting to the community's rhythm and contributing positively to its culture.

In conclusion, Candace Viox's journey from a newcomer to a respected business owner and community advocate in the Knoxville/Farragut area serves as an inspiring blueprint for anyone looking to make a new start in this vibrant community. Her emphasis on support, engagement, and persistence offers a roadmap to thriving in both business and personal endeavors in this uniquely welcoming part of Tennessee.


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