Marion whiskey and wine bar looks for community investment

Jun 14, 2020

MARION — In just two weeks, the not-yet-opened Mary Celeste Whiskey and Wine Library, raised $14,500 to help fund unforeseen construction costs. The money didn’t come from Wall Street or a high-end restaurant group, but from local residents.

The lounge is partnering with community investment platform Mainvest to allow residents to invest in the future of Mary Celeste and get paid back their investment over time by 1.5 times the original amount they put in.

Since the campaign started on May 14, 62 people have invested in the whiskey and wine bar that hopes to be up and running in October, if funding goes well.

Mike Achilles, who owns the whiskey and wine bar along with his wife Kate, said that “this just seemed like the natural thing to do.”

Achilles said he is “thankful we have that type of community that supports us.”

The lounge has been in the works since 2018 when he leased the space that used to be where the Bookstall, a beloved Marion bookstore that closed in June of that year after 60 years in business.

The concept behind the lounge is a place to bring residents together for a nice drink and a quiet atmosphere. Its name comes from the famed 1861 ghost ship that was commandeered by Benjamin Briggs of Marion and found untouched, but empty in 1872.

After multiple hearings from residents about noise and parking concerns, the town’s planning board approved Mary Celeste’s on March 5.

Achilles has done a lot of the construction himself to save costs. The walls are up, the new flooring is in, but he said the electrical and plumbing work still needs to be done.

Inspired by a recent Mainvest campaign for Lucky Goat Brewing in Wareham, he turned to the community investment platform to fund to help finish construction.

“This is a way that people can make a tangible impact in their community,” said Kaylin Kulza, Business Success Manager at Mainvest. 

With a minimum investment of $100, she said it’s a way to support small businesses and invest in something without needing a lot of money to do so.

And the investment is something that is crucial to the livelihood of Mary Celeste’s.

“This might mean whether we open or not,” so it means everything, Achilles said.

The Mainvest page for Mary Celeste’s Whiskey and Wine Library can be found here.