We're thrilled to post the next installment in our series titled Local Business Spotlight!🔆
We shine the spotlight this time on Mission Spirits at 215 Buck Street in Millville.
Founder Jay Wheeler grew up in the friendly suburbs of Toledo, Ohio, but soon moved to Philadelphia for college and ultimately found a familiar sense of strong community, mutual support, and local pride in Millville, where he decided to build his beautiful distillery named Mission Spirits.
Learn more about Mission Spirits in our interview just below.
Connecting the Past and the Present
"We had unfettered access to the houses and yards of our neighbors." Jay describes his childhood in the suburbs of Toledo, Ohio with this idyllic picture. The community was close, supportive, and open. Kids could stop by the home of a friend, grab a bite to eat, and run off to the next adventure.
Jay soon moved to West Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania and begin a new life on the East Coast. He followed his academic pursuits with a successful media career in New York City.
Every one of these memories, decisions, and experiences would come to influence Jay's decision to build his own distillery in Millville. "I felt that same love and dedication in Millville that I recalled from my childhood, and it gave me comfort."
Stellar Product, Outstanding Service, and Extraordinary Experiences
In addition to his appreciation for the citizens of Millville, Jay expressed his gratitude for generous support from the city government that helped him navigate the development process for Mission Spirits. Permits, regulations, contacts—Jay can't overstate the value of this collaboration, which allowed him to maintain his focus on the business and the product, while still complying with local laws.
And the outcome of that focus on the business and the product? Something extraordinary for our city!
The Entrepreneurial Mindset
As Jay reflects on his decision to build Mission Spirits in Millville, he reveals his sharp instincts for good business. The logistics of distributing his products efficiently to markets in DC, Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore, Philadelphia, and New York City. The surrounding local organizations full of partnership potential such as the Levoy Theatre, the New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Wheaton Village. And of course the beautiful building in the heart of our downtown district to meet customers where they're at.
Jay recommends a similar strategy to the next generation of local entrepreneurs. "Make a detailed plan with a strict budget, then test your ideas quickly and inexpensively with friends, family, and even some acquaintances who are further removed from you and therefore willing to share harsh truths. If you see promising results after all, go for it!"
We at HCDC have witnessed the success of this entrepreneurial mindset, especially within our Creative Enterprise Center and among our other downtown businesses.
Finally, Jay shares a message from the entire team at Mission Spirits. "We want to encourage people to invest in themselves and work hard, dedicating themselves to excellence in their craft. It means trying and failing and trying again, having the steadfast resilience to pick yourself up and keep going."
We're honored to have Mission Spirits in our city and look forward to its enduring success!✅