So when Meinhardt returned to her hometown after more than a decade of living and working as a writer in New York City, she realized she wanted to create a space that celebrated Ocean City and the people who made it one. such a dynamic place.
That’s how she brought a new business to life unlike any other in this Maryland resort town.
The Buzzed Word opened last year as a bookstore, natural wine store and wine bar. A hidden gem tucked away in a strip of retail stores and cafes near a Food Lion, this cleverly named business fills a need that some may not even have realized was there.
“One of my favorite activities has always been, like after work, having a quiet drink with a book or journaling or even sitting down and talking with a friend over a snack,” said said Meinhardt. “And there just isn’t really a place for that here.”
Known for its often tourism-focused businesses that shout out to visitors with bright colors and signs advertising crabs or margaritas, Ocean City delivered when it came to bars that were sinking with loud music and smash-ups. orange.
But when it came to finding a place with a quiet atmosphere — a place where people could lounge on couches, leaf through books, or try new wines over a good conversation — that’s where Meinhardt thought she could give something back to her community.
And it seems like a lot of other people are grateful to him for doing so. The Buzzed Word has only been open for about eight months, but Meinhardt said she constantly hears people thanking her for opening up this new space for them.
Not only do they no longer need to travel to Salisbury or Bethany Beach to visit a bookstore or seek out natural wines, but many of them are simply happy to have a relaxing space where they feel welcome.
Like the wines, Meinhardt works with her team to select the books and make sure the authors and characters represent all kinds of identities like those of the LGBTQ and black communities.
She recalled a client who said he often wasn’t looking forward to visiting Ocean City when he was in town to visit his grandmother, but once he saw himself on the covers of these books, that perspective has changed. He now loves coming to Ocean City and stopping by this shop that features queer and minority voices.
Meinhardt said this is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of owning this business.
“The coolest thing about The Buzzed Word is that it’s Ocean City and only Ocean City,” Meinhardt said. And I want people to be proud that we have something great here, and it’s for them.
FROM INSTAGRAM TO WINE BAR
Now a sleek store with eclectic furnishings, a pink neon sign with a wine bottle logo emerging from the open pages of a book, and a 14-seat bar with a sleek black and white marble counter, The Buzzed Word first started out as a fun Instagram account.
After spending years reviewing books and delving into the works of her favorite authors, then discovering more about the vast world of wine, Meinhardt began posting her food and wine pairing reviews on Instagram.
This online community quickly bought into his idea and embarked on a series of live events called Books & Bottles in which authors talked about their books over a carefully selected bottle of wine.
Books and wine? It was a fatal match.
Then the pandemic quickly pushed every gathering to Zoom. Meinhardt returned to Ocean City to spend time with her sick mother and quickly cleaned out her eight-year-old Brooklyn apartment to return to the East Coast.
All the while, she had this idea of turning this Instagram account and Books & Bottles events into a physical store. The vision began to form and she worked to make it happen.
Now, with a small team of employees, she is beginning to feel the fruits of all her efforts.
“It really went beyond what I had even dreamed of,” she said, “because people were so grateful that we were here.”
A NEW CHAPTER FOR THE COMMUNITY
A sense of community is the constant tasting note of The Buzzed Word.
This is felt when a customer walks in and chats over a glass of wine before checking their watch to make an appointment with the hairdresser next door.
It’s also in the contagious laughter that echoes off the walls as the local UPS delivery man tells stories about his recent trip to Costa Rica as he places a package on the back counter.
That’s what Meinhardt set out to create: a place where people could come together and feel welcome.
From the handwritten notes describing each bottle of wine to the diverse voices depicted on the pages of the books, “every little part of this space is personal,” Meinhardt said.
As people begin to meet in person again, it has also provided opportunities for book and wine clubs, wine tastings and pop-up events with other local businesses like Gilbert’s Provisions.
When reflecting on what’s next, she said she wanted to encourage more people in the community to shine and use the space; musicians, artists, readers and writers – they are all welcome.
“Whatever they love and want to use this space for, I hope he feels open and welcome for that,” she said.
The Buzzed Word, 11805 Coastal Highway, Unit C, Ocean City, Maryland, open Monday and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. ; 410-520-5452; www.thebuzzedword.com