Graham Kilmer

Boutique Wine Shop Planned for Walker’s Point

Thelma Carol Wine Shop will be like a library for wine and liquor with a tasting room.

By - Apr 7th, 2022 10:47 am
605 W. Virginia St. Photo taken March 31, 2022 by Graham Kilmer.

605 W. Virginia St. Photo taken March 31, 2022 by Graham Kilmer.

There’s a new wine shop planned for Walker’s Point called Thelma Carol Wine Merchants.

The owners, husband and wife Rebecca Sue Button and Jerel Hall, are planning to open the shop at 605 W. Virginia St. in the space that was formerly home to Juto, a restaurant that specialized in Asian small plates.

The shop will sell wines, spirits and fine tobacco products, they told Urban Milwaukee in an interview. The shop won’t just be a retail location, though. They’re going to keep the old, oak bar and operate the business as a bottle shop and tasting room.

“Especially for the use of private and small events, having the ability to sell glasses of wine, samples of spirits, even cocktails from time to time was also an important part of it,” Hall said.

The building is owned by Braden and Brianna Just, who are using historic tax credits to redevelop the building and are working with Hall and Button on the redeveloped space.

“We are actually working with a really fantastic canvas,” Button said.

Button said the building has “tons of exposed brick” and “all of this lovely oak,” and when it’s done Thelma Carol will offer a “warm and cozy atmosphere.”

The name for the business comes from Hall and Button’s grandmothers. Hall’s being Thelma June and Button’s being Carol.

“We’re going for this library motif,” Button said. “Our grandmothers were librarians, they were so inspirational to us, and so this is going to be a nod to them. But instead of it being books, this will be wine and spirits.”

In fact, Hall has a masters degree in Library Science from Indiana University, of which Button is also a graduate; and in 2015 he earned his certification as a Sommelier.

Hall said the shop’s focus will be on wines, but will also offer liquors. “Spirits-wise, a big focus on rum. I’m a huge tiki fan,” Hall said. “Lots of gin; lots of single malt scotch; some of the things that are a little bit off the beaten path, various types of brandies from around the world.”

Hall and Button both come to the business with more than decade of experience in restaurants, bars and retail alcohol sales. Button has worked in some of the most popular and highly regarded bars and restaurants in Milwaukee, including Odd Duck, Bavette La Boucherie and At Random.

The pair hope to open Thelma Carol by June, and are excited to open in Walker’s Point with a first-of-its-kind shop for the area.

Update: Story has been corrected to reflect that Hall and Button went to Indiana University, not Indiana State University.

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