College of Business alums – husband and wife duo – create international wine experience for Texas residents

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Candice Elliott and her husband, Eric, are the husband and wife duo, who have brought internationally sourced wine to Richmond, Texas. In 2020, the couple opened Water’s Edge Winery & Bistro. This family owned franchise is a micro-winery in the heart of the suburbs and specializes in making eco-friendly international wines-locally.

JSU alums Candice and Eric Elliott have opened Water’s Edge Winery & Bistro in Richmond, Texas. (Photo special to JSU)

“We provide a space for people in our community to come together and celebrate life,” says Elliot.

In addition to offering fine wines to their customers, they also provide exquisite foods such as shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, shrimp fried rice and charcuterie boards.

For the Elliots, the motivation for opening a Black winery was simple—providing an experience for people that the area currently didn’t have.

“We wanted to fulfill the need by bringing a nice spot that adults could enjoy that was similar to the nightlife in California yet still have a small-town feel,” Elliott said.

Excited about their new venture, the duo began planning and implementation in 2019 and by February 2020, construction was underway. Shortly after, the pandemic hit.

“The pandemic created delays in our process, but we didn’t have to worry about the stresses of paying employees or layoffs since we were not open for business,” Elliott said. “Also, sometimes individuals in our work crews were exposed to COVID-19, and everyone had to stop working to get tested to make sure everyone was always safe.”

The official grand opening occurred six months after the pandemic began so people were eager to get out and have fun—safely.

“The most beneficial aspect of our business is seeing people enjoy life. I like to stand back and watch people have a good time. A lot of people come in to celebrate their birthday or anniversary, and it’s a great feeling to know that people are choosing us for those important life moments.”

When asked what advice she would give to a current JSU student aspiring to be a business owner, Elliot replied, “Have strong faith in God, pray a lot and trust yourself. As long as you put in the work, you will be successful.”

Overall, she said, “We were able to show our daughters how to open a business and what it takes to be an owner. I know it was important for them to see something grow from nothing. Now they understand that they don’t have to work for someone else—owning their own business is an option.”