By Elva K. Österreich Ruidoso News, N.M.
Sisters Lexi and Nicole Doth have followed their dreams -- right into a new Ruidoso business.
Walking into the Cork and Kettle is a journey of both comfort and discovery. The products are displayed in a spacious, roomy and welcoming atmosphere and, as the customer reaches the back of the store, can be sampled and enjoyed.
There is New Mexico-made wine for tasting and for sale by the glass. Coffee, roasted in New Mexico, is for sale both by the pound or by the brewed cup. Tables and couches welcome the visitor to settle into while sipping a beverage.
"You can come in for a glass of wine, read a book, work on project or grade a paper," Lexi said. "It's a place you can spend an afternoon with a friend."
In its second month of business, the Cork and Kettle is bringing Lexi and Nicole right where they want to be as creative developers of a place that appreciates the finer delicious things New Mexico has to offer.
"We came in knowing we're doing something new," Lexi said.
The young women come from a family business of businesses beginning with Heart of the Desert pistachios in Otero County. Their parents, Mark and Laura Doth, are no strangers to the Ruidoso business community.
"We grew up selling the pistachios," Nicole said. "This is very much a family business."
Of course, Cork and Kettle has a full selection of Heart of the Desert products available, including pistachios and wines. "Everything here is artisan made," Nicole said.
"We wanted to provide something you won't find in the grocery store," Lexi added.
There is bread mix in burlap bags, just add a bottle of beer and bake; there are lavender soaps; honey from 300 hives; Red Rock Roasters coffee; Mexican chocolate; green tea mints; and a vast array of other delicious and beautiful products -- even cigars.
For holidays, customers will be able to build their own baskets of mixed products for gifts and staff will put them together. "We really wanted to offer a gourmet food product," Nicole said.
Exploring numerous places in search of products and ideas, Nicole even went as far as Australia.
"We met so many people who do these really cool things -- small family operations," she said. "Everything we've got in here has a story to tell."
But its not all from other places. Mark Doth has put many hours into the décor, refurbishing antique lighting, recreating the fireplace and the whole family has been painting to add to the atmosphere.
"Everyone's been so involved," Lexi said. "Dad restored vintage lamps and mom designed the sign."
Eventually historic Ruidoso photographs will be added to the mix.
"We are really excited and having a great time putting it all together," Nicole said.
Lexi will be heading back to her studies at Northern Arizona University soon where she is studying hotel and restaurant management and accounting.
Nicole is fresh from earning her master's degree in hospitality and retail management from Texas Tech in Lubbock. She is excited about exploring the possibilities when it comes to wine and food pairings.
She said the Cork and Kettle has a New Age approach to wine drinking.
"I wanted to provide for getting people into wines and discovering what they like, not just what a shelf talker tells them what they should like," Nicole said. "The whole industry has seen a shift in wine attitudes."
The best part about the business for both women is the connections and ideas it brings them.
"It's been a really interactive process," Nicole said. "Talking with customers -- nothing is off the table. I want people to make this shop their own."