Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong

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Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong, A Wine Store | Canny Group

Zara and Conor were like any young couple in their early twenties looking for bigger and better things, making the move to Melbourne to follow their dreams.  It wasn’t until COVID-19 hit that they found being isolated in their tiny one-bedroom apartment in Richmond and not able to see or spend time with family and friends that they reassessed what they wanted to do with their lives.  This decision saw them move home to Geelong and also bring their love of wine, beer and spirits with them, in the form of their very own Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong store with them!

What is Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong?

Blackhearts & Sparrows prides itself on being a wine (beer and spirits) store for the people, whose goal is to make the world of wine and well-crafted drinks accessible to all.  Since 2006 we’ve built strong relationships with producers and importers locally and further afield and championed the small and unique, the weird and wonderful, and the downright delicious.

We view great wine, beer, and spirits as more than just a drink: they bring people together.  Our well-curated selection provides beer, wine, and spirits that drink well beyond their price, with something for every budget.

Tell us the story – your story – of how Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong came about + to life?

During COVID-19, we were lucky enough to be classified as an essential service and a busy one, to say the least.  However, Conor and I were stuck in a small (being generous) one-bedroom apartment in Richmond, not able to see any of our friends or family really made us reassess (as I think a lot of people did during this time of unknown) if this was what we really wanted out future to be.

It didn’t take long for us to realise that moving back to our hometown Geelong, was where we saw our future heading, and we wanted to bring Blackhearts & Sparrows with us.  We approached co-founders of Blackhearts & Sparrows, Jessica and Paul Ghaie, brother and sister duo (our new partners in the Geelong store) to see what they thought of the idea and, well, the rest is history.

After securing the Pakington Street premises, it seemed rather like fate as I had previously worked at Winter’s Cafe (next door) from 2012 through until 2015 and Conor worked at Randalls the Wine Merchant (now Village Store) from 2009 right up until 2015.

How long has Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong been up and running for?

10 whole days!

Everybody has something… what do YOU love about your job?

Getting to meet and chat with some really amazing people!  We’ve had such a wonderful welcome into the Newtown community.  The people are really why we do (and love) doing what we do, adding a layer of enjoyment or experience into their day really makes us feel good.

There’s a lot of competition out there for the industry that you’re diving into!  What sets you apart from the next business?

We really pride ourselves on making wine accessible to people, it can be confronting walking into a wine store and not really knowing where to start or what you are after.  We take the jargon out of products and relay it into everyday terms.

One of the other really crucial parts of Blackhearts & Sparrows is having a large range of wines under $20 that are of excellent value.  We want to show customers that even if their budget is $15 we are going to provide something that is worthy of that!

Would you say your job is exciting… or do you just spend each of your days tasting alcohol?

Our job is very exciting, whilst we are not the ones tasking every single bottle.  We have tried probably close to, if not more than 80% of the products in our store.

When someone comes into the store and asks for a product or a recommendation they are trusting us in enhancing their experience, maybe that is for pairing with their steak and frites, or taking a bottle to impress your new girlfriend’s parents or maybe just simply you want something so delicious to enjoy with your pizza.

What does a day in your shoes at Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong look like for you?

I’ll let Conor answer this one – a day at Blackhearts & Sparrows starts with cleaning, a little dusting, maybe some mopping.  After that is when the fun starts and it’s all really about catering to the needs of those that walk through our door.  Most customers are just getting to know the store and want to look around, some customers want a recommendation straight away so it really does vary.

The rest o the day revolves around ranging the store and making sure that we have new and exciting products or restocks hitting the floor for when we need them.

At there moment there are still lots of little things we are working on to make the store finished (to the trained eye!) and we hope to release a series of tasting and small events in the months to come, so this is forever a work in progress.

Every business needs an advisor – who do you turn to for help?  And with so many accountants Geelong has on offer, what made you turn to Canny Group?

Amanda has been great, she helped us with our business plan, deciphering the many, many things that no one tells you about business.  She has been very real and honest with us about what we are in for and the highs we may face but also very open about the lows too – which I think is something that a lot of accountants wouldn’t be willing to do.  We went into the venture with our eyes wide open and that was all thanks to Mandy taking the time to believe in what we wanted to bring to Geelong and helping us by getting to know our business.

Conor and I have been clients of Canny Group for many years now, from just simple individual tax returns to now being the team we turn to for help if and when we need it.  We have also used the services of Canny Legal – the time and dedication that Richard and his legal team showed us was far greater than we ever expected.

How do I get in contact or find out more about Blackhearts & Sparrows – Geelong?

You can visit us in person at 332 Pakington Street, Newtown or via our website:

Our trading hours are:

Monday – Friday: 11am – 8pm

Saturday: 10am – 8pm

Sunday 10am – 7pm

And we would love to see each and every one of you and help you on your wine, beer and spirits journey.

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