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  • Writer's pictureJoey Amato

Getting to know Marco and Douglas of Papageno’s Wine & Provisions

Papageno’s Wine & Provisions, a wine and specialty food shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that opened in December of 2023, is led by LGBTQ co-owners and spouses Marco Gomez and Douglas Haines.  Their mission is to provide the community with a compelling experience that teases the culinarily curious and satisfies the everyday shopper.  Papageno’s Wine & Provisions focuses on brands that tell great stories and have a sense of discovery – hidden gems, rare finds, unexpected items, and classics.


How did you come up with the business name?

Papageno is a character from The Magic Flute who discovers that he needs only simple pleasures in life to make him happy – good food, good wine, and true love.


What prompted the move from New York City to Fort Lauderdale?

We wanted to do something for ourselves and felt we had a better chance if we looked beyond New York.  After extensive research and traveling, we felt Fort Lauderdale had the most to offer.


Why did you decide to open your business?

It felt like fate, like our ultimate goal, both professionally and as a couple, that we would open our own business.  Marco’s career was in fine-dining restaurants, gaining his sommelier certification along the way.  Douglas spent his career in specialty foods, working in operations, merchandising, and product development.  We reached a point in our careers where we simply wanted to stop doing this for others and do it for ourselves.


What makes your store unique?

We are a celebration of small producers who have great products that tell great stories.  We are about relationships and experiences with our products, services, and guests, but most of all, we are about fun!  We enjoy engaging a guest in something they’ve never had before, be it a smoked gouda caramel or a Picpoul wine from California.


Did you encounter any obstacles along the way?

Although we’ve opened many operations while working for others, this is the first opening where we are fully responsibly for every aspect of the business.  We underestimated the real estate / facility factor.  Building codes, licensing and zoning requirements, etc. and the time it takes to maneuver through them. 


What’s the best business advice you ever received?

“Know your lease, every line of it”. Is the best piece of advice we received as small business owners.  The best piece of advice we received about carving out one’s niche in the hospitality business is to understand your primary and secondary points of differentiation.  Let’s face it, we’re all competing for the same customer base, and you cannot be everything to everyone.  So, understand how you will compete and execute it flawlessly.  Papageno’s Wine & Provisions points of differentiation are product selection and guest experience.


What are your goals for 2024?

To have Papageno’s Wine & Provisions established as a respected and trusted place to find quality and unique wine and specialty foods.


How are you marketing your business to the LGBTQ consumers?

We advertise in local LGBTQ magazines, in print and online.  We partnered with a local LGBTQ non-profit organization for our grand opening and beyond, including donations, toy drives, and more.  We’ve contributed articles to local LGBTQ publications and will continue to contribute. We intend to do more as we evolve, guaranteeing an active, positive contribution to the community.


What are your favorite wine and food pairings?

That is a very tough question. We all have our favorites, and there’s a clear difference between one’s personal favorite and what is the best, or at least the best seller of the group. There are very few wrong answers when it comes to pairing things, a good rule, though, is to match the intensity of flavors so that one does not overpower or defeat the other. It’s best to have fun. There’s nothing wrong with experimentation. Remember, there was a time, many years ago, when someone put chocolate and peanut butter together for the first time and some thought it was excellent and innovative while others thought it was complete madness.  Funny to think of it that way, but that was the case.  Just like everything else, food & wine evolve. Having said all of that, some of our favorite pairings are a balsamic-soaked, chocolate-covered strawberry with a robust Australian Shiraz, or a wonderfully delicate Spanish Albariño with olive oil cake.  


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