If you’ve enjoyed a cup of coffee, a well-thought out and creatively delicious meal, or a fun crafted cocktail at The Woodstock Cafe: you’ve already experienced a bit of the stunning Nikolyn Grant. Nikolyn Grant owns The Woodstock Cafe on Main Street in downtown Woodstock, Virginia. A staple in the town, the Cafe brings about local regulars, as well as tourists stopping through The Shenandoah Valley. The Cafe is filled with aesthetically-pleasing branding, a carefully curated wine shop, with a beer nook across the way, and even outdoor seating to relish in the fresh mountain air! If you’ve had a conversation with Nikolyn, you know she fills the space with effortless grace and extra special touches of refined magic. We are so excited to feature her as our first Female Entrepreneur Focus!
Malabella: We absolutely adore The Woodstock Cafe and love stopping by! When and how did you start your business?
Nikki: I purchased the Café January of 2019. It was a total accident and I was actually looking at purchasing another business. My Uncle told me about The Café quietly being for sale…it all happened pretty organically after that.
M: What’s your favorite thing about owning a business in a small town?
N: Getting to know all the people that come through our doors. In a small town it’s a lot easier to get to know people, their families, their pets, special dates. I look forward to my daily chats.
M: Did you always envision yourself as an Entrepreneur? If not, what changed that made you want to become one?
N: YES! My whole life actually, I just never really knew what I wanted to do until I met Jose. I also come from a family of Entrepreneurs – I just happen to be the first female.
M: What are your favorite aspects of managing a team of employees? What are the hardest?
N: I love people. But they are both the best and hardest part of the job. Coordinating schedules, managing personalities. It can be very overwhelming.
M: What are your best tidbits of advice for other female entrepreneurs, especially ones that own a local business?
N: It’s ok to say NO! It’s important to learn the value of that word and learn it early on. And protect your peace. Learning to take care of yourself and making yourself a priority when you own a business is really hard but the only way you can take care of others is to take care of yourself. Even after four years, I still struggle with this daily.
M: Do you have a favorite power outfit that makes you ready to take on the day? If so, what is it?
N: Oh man, these days my everyday outfit is jeans, v-neck t-shirt, sneakers and an apron. I more so believe in the power of a bold lip – so a solid lipstick in my secret weapon for feeling powerful and confident.
M: You work hand in hand with your Life Partner, Jose, the incredibly talented Chef of The Woodstock Cafe. Do you have any advice for working alongside someone that you live with, as well?
N: If it happens at work…let it stay there. I LOVE working with Jose but somedays just aren’t easy. It’s important to leave all that at work and come home and just be together. He’s my partner in every way –but our relationship comes first and I do everything I can to make it a priority over work.
M: What’s your main goal for the business? How much would you like to scale, or grow, as a restaurant in Woodstock, Virginia?
N: Who knows! Honestly, it changes day to day. Somedays we want to do more, big bigger, expand in some way but other days, we are like “this is good, let’s just keep doing this.”
M: What are some of your favorite businesses or brands that are also female-owned?
N: Besides, Malabella? 😊 Too many to name. All the female winemakers that I carry in my shop, the countless female chefs/restaurant owners that are changing the face of the industry.
M: Do you have a mentor or someone that you really look up to for business advice? Who are they, and how do they inspire you?
N: It’s been really hard to find a mentor but there are people within the community that I really trust and have given me some good advice over the last four years. My Mom was a huge role model for me. Sadly, she passed before I purchased the Café – I often ask myself “What would Cookie say/do?” She was strong, business savvy and everyone loved her. I can only hope to be half of who she was.
M: We know you’re a true and talented wine connoisseur. What are your top 3 wines to sip on?
N: I love Chardonnay and I am not afraid to admit it! Wayfarer Sonoma Coast is always a winner same with Failla and anything made by Arianna Occhipiniti. I adore what she’s done for the world of women in wine and her wines are truly fantastic.
M: What is your favorite meal/food at The Woodstock Cafe?
N: Sweet Corn Agnolotti – I rarely sit down and eat a huge bowl of pasta but come sweet corn season…it’s hard to keep me away from that dish. I have had over 150 of Jose’s pasta…that one will always be my favorite.
M: What’s your sun sign?
M: What’s a daily ritual that you practice?
N: I like to wake up early. I take care of the dog, have coffee, read my book and then go for a run. I have found that hour or so in the morning is really important and helps shape my day.
M: What is your favorite current mantra or intention?
N: protect your peace. I say this often – it’s easy to get bogged down in the negativity of the world and what people say about you or when things go wrong at work. I have made focusing on my peace and happiness a priority.
M: You have some really fun tattoos. Which one is your favorite, and what’s the story behind it?
N: All of my tattoos have a special meaning to me but the star on my wrist is my favorite. My mom and I had the same star on the same wrist. It was a Mother’s Day gift to her and now more than ever…I am happy I have it to look at every day.
M: We appreciate your support of Malabella so much. What’s your current favorite Malabella piece and why?
N: I am loving my threaders. I recently wore them on a trip to Nashville and got stopped twice by people asking where I got them.
M: Sunrise or Sunset?
All photography is by Black Valley Creative
Jewels Malabella Jewels
Check out Woodstock Cafe in Woodstock, Virginia