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Even with its doors closed, its owner gone and the neighboring Whaley's Market shuttered, Charlie's Wine Cellar & Wine Bar is attempting a comeback.

The Whaley's Plaza wine shop and bar, a popular stop for SoHo shoppers for 17 years, closed this month, apparently unable to sustain business after nearby Whaley's closed in August. But Dixon Smith, who was the general manager at Charlie's for the past six years, thinks there's enough community interest to reopen the store in the same spot and continue selling wine and holding tastings and private parties.

"It's not just me," Smith said. "Several customers have said they're interested in investing if I wanted to continue running it."

Smith said he heard from so many people wanting to reopen Charlie's, he came up with a business plan to raise $50,000 to cover start-up expenses, which would include the first couple of months of rent, payroll, inventory and other costs. He's hoping to get people to invest in $1,000 or more increments, and he predicts a small monthly profit as early as the first month of business.

Smith could not say how much money he had secured this week but that the response had been positive. If he has not raised enough money by today, though, he was not sure if he could move forward with signing a lease and reopening Charlie's.

"I'm putting all my time and energy into it at this time," Smith said. "But if I can't get something committed by the end of this month, I'll have to move on to Plan B."

What Plan B would be, Smith wasn't sure.

Interested investors may contact Smith at

Emily Nipps can be reached at or (813) 226-3431.