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After disaster, Crate owners discover lots of friends

Derek and Nicole Cote had to liquidate their inventory after a flood badly damaged the building. Derek and Nicole Cote had to liquidate their inventory after a flood badly damaged the building.

LAUREL PARK — Weekend before last, the line at the Crate Wine Market & Project snaked around the building as customers to buy up the shop’s inventory.

Inside, owners Derek and Nicole Baumann Cote were selling as fast as noisy fans ran a few yards away drying out the floor and the walls.
On Friday morning, July 10, an employee called the couple after she opened for the day to find it “raining” inside, Derek said. A water pipe in the ceiling has burst, flooding the store with several inches of water. Newly renovated, the space would have to be closed for weeks while a contractor made repairs. Their first thought was that they would move the stock to a new location and reopen.
When they checked with the state ABC office in Raleigh, they learned that it would take about as long as to get a new wine sales permit as it would to renovate — two to three months.
“We were up all night trying to figure this out,” Derek said. “We just said, let’s sell everything, and then the few cases that are left we’ll bring home because we couldn’t sell it elsewhere.”
They didn’t know how well that would work.
CrateLineA long line formed when word spread on social media that Crate Wine Market had to sell all its inventory after a water line break. [PHOTO BY NICOLE BAUMANN COTE]“So we sent out an email to our email list, which is over a thousand people easily,” Derek said. “And we didn’t realize that people kept sharing it on Facebook beyond that.”
“Everyone started sharing it on Facebook,” Nicole added. “They put it on WTZQ. Merit (Wolff, owner of Wine Sage & Gourmet), who is a friend of mine who has wine, too, she posted it.”
That weekend, July 11 and 12, the Cotes found out they had more friends than they ever realized.
“People waited in line for an hour and a half,” Derek said. “Everybody was super cool and happy and in a good mood.”
Exhausted and exhilarated at the same time, they sold a lot of the inventory the first day.
“When we got home last night we a sent a thank you email,” Nicole said. “Everybody’s been so great, it’s so great to be part of the community. It’s why we moved here. All we did was reach out to our people and they perpetuated it. WTZQ found out and they played it all day, ‘You gotta do down to Crate.’”

On Sunday, a week after they closed and locked the doors of the Crate, the building was completely gutted and the couple was getting ready to meet with contractors about repairs.

When it rains, it pours. Derek and Nicole had already renovated the space once, and had also been burglarized twice this year. With the coronavirus challenges adding to their stress, they’ve had a trying year. But Derek and Nicole say the Hendersonville community has turned out to be everything they hoped for when they moved here after life in big cities — Detroit, Nashville and Richmond.
“A lot of my customers, I see them weekly, some of them more than once a week,” Nicole said. “We feel pretty good about it. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”