Leeah’s Old Village Wine Shop
by Jordan Ilderton from Charleston Women magazine
“Let’s play the game “Two truths and a lie” about Leeah’s Old Village Wine Shop and Ebony Mullins, the owner.
- Ebony held a Navy Civilian Supervisor level position with the government and won the “Modern Technology Leader” award at the Black Engineer of the Year awards.
- Ebony has two Master’s degrees and her wife, Kym, has a graduate, post graduate degree and is a nurse practitioner.
- Leeah’s Old Village wine shop opened during a pandemic.
Did you guess they were all truths? No lies there! If you start singing “Girl Is On Fire” by Alicia Keys right now, you would not be wrong!
Ebony worked 15 years with the Department of Defense and was a Navy Civilian Supervisor, which is a senior level position! While in San Diego, she met Kym in 2012. At the time, Kym was working as a medic for the Army and the two married in 2014. Ebony has always had a passion for war-fighter technology as well as a passion for entertaining and helping people have fun and feel good about themselves. Even while working for the government, she had a part-time event company and worked at a winery.
She says she always thought when she retired she’d have, “a cute little wine shop in Mexico.” Then a death in the family brought home the reality that… life is too short! Kym facilitated the process by doing a nationwide seach. They are both extremely connected to their family in Millbrook, AL, and Kym in Charlotte, NC. While visiting family, from the next room, Kym texted Ebony to “check out this place” which is the location on Pitt Street that you know and love today.
To make a short story shorter, they flew to Charleston to check it out and within 90 days they sold a house, bought a house, bought a business and Ebony moved to Charleston. They closed on their Sand Diego house and their Charleson house on the SAME day! Ebony was here first living in a hotel and preparing the business while Kym was finishing up in California. She admits it was scary in the beginning but says, “The community has helped. They were just ‘there’. Even if people didn’t buy anything, they would stop to check in. That really helped a lot.”
Ebony and Kym are both into philanthropy and are willing to assist however they can with the needs that come along. In San Diego, they had “Sunday Fund-days” and would spotlight a local charity, The charity would set up at the store and a portion of sales would go to that charity and they would get their name and message out. Recently, she gave wine to the Make A Wish foundation.
Opening a business during a pandemic is no small feat and Ebony firmly believes you can’t go at it alone. She works with other local businesses to do cross-selling and connecting. As she puts it, “There’s enough to go around and no one can do it all.” She partnered with Out Of Hand to create beautiful and fun gift boxes for Mother’s Day, has done pop ups with Big Bad Breakfast Charleson and Low to High Country Barbeque, and sells fresh roasted coffee beans. She also had plans to do wine tastings and food pairings and, eventually, vineyard trips.
For now, you can find Kym in the shop in the morning doing prep work and getting coffee ready and Ebony takes the afternoon shift to focus on sales and connecting with the neighborhood.”