She opened the shop in March as COVID began to spread
Ebony Mullins in front of Leeah’s Old Village Wine Shop on Pitt Street
On Saturdays, Mount Pleasant’s Pitt Street is a flurry of activity. Parents walk and jog while pushing children in strollers, waving when they recognize their new friend, Ebony Mullins, the owner of Leeah’s Old Village Wine Shop, which opened in March. “They call me Leeah,” she says, referring to her middle name, as well as the name of her business. “Like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.”
A graduate of San Diego State University’s wine education program, Mullins honed her interest in the food-and-beverage industry while working at an urban winery close to her home in the coastal city. As she pursued a career with the Navy, Mullins dreamed of retiring and opening a wine shop. When her brother-in-law passed away in 2019, Mullins realized that “life was too short” to wait. She and her wife, Kym, moved to Charleston to be closer to family on the East Coast and used their savings to lease the building, renovate the interior to allow 25 guests, and add cafe tables to expand outdoor seating.
Leeah’s opened March 27, just as COVID forced some stores to close. An essential business, the shop remained open, offering private tastings and hosting food trucks on weekends. Recently, Mullins added a small tapas menu created by newly hired chef Mari Ramie of Marjoram Cuisine. For Valentine’s Day, she is offering picnic baskets, featuring champagnes and sweet treats, along with products from nearby retailers.
A newcomer to the historic Old Village, Mullins says the support from the community has helped her survive. “We all embrace each other… because we’re in this together,” she says. “Everyone is welcome.”