Owner of Waters Edge Winery & Bistro in Jacksonville shifting focus

Waters Edge Winery & Bistro in Jacksonville has closed, but owner Mike Hayes said the property will reopen next month with a different focus.

Hayes, a Jacksonville native and real estate developer, opened Waters Edge Winery at 1061 East Morton Ave in May 2021. It was the 19th franchise for the California-based company, which specializes in urban wineries.

“Jacksonville was a pretty small market for a Waters Edge,” said Hayes. “I think they just liked our facility and took us on as a trial, but for some time now they’ve been concerned with the numbers that have come out of Jacksonville, compared to larger markets where they usually are.”

Hayes said that after consultation with the corporate office, “we’ll no longer be affiliated with the franchise system.” He said his focus now is on doing some remodeling over the course of the next month.

“It’s our intent to reopen it as a different type of hall, more event-oriented. We’re going to get more involved in the live music side of it, and private events are going to be our focus,” said Hayes. “We’re just not going to be a day-to-day bar and winery. That hasn’t worked out for us because of the size of the facility, and staffing has also been a problem to be open that many days of the week.”

The Wine Barn, a second building located next to Waters Edge Winery, was not part of the franchise and will remain open. As for the main building, Hayes said, “We hope to have all the remodeling done in the month of September. October is our target date for getting things open in a different form.”

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