Kenneth and Melissa Hyman met in Richmond, VA in 1994, and moved to the Outer Banks in 2003 to open Native Vine. Their vision was to introduce visitors to the Outer Banks to the rapidly growing wine industry in North Carolina, AND to introduce interesting wine from around the world to anyone that would listen. The first store was located in Point Harbor, just over the Wright Memorial Bridge from the Outer Banks proper, and was just 1500 sq. ft. Their concept of service, value and educating their customers allowed the store to grow to 4500 sq ft in 2006. Trio, a retail and tasting destination, is the next step in the continued evolution of the original business concept.
In 2011, John and Jennifer Minnich partnered with Kenny and Melissa to create the new concept of “TRiO”. Having vacationed in the Outer Banks since the 1970s, John introduced Jennifer to the area shortly after they met, and they were married in Duck. After many visits, they made the Outer Banks their permanent home in 2008. Jennifer’s passion for cheese and John’s insistence (from too much time spent in bars in the US and England) that “beer must be done right” fit perfectly with Kenny and Melissa’s love of wine and everything that goes with it!
Jennifer’s love of cheese was born while she was just in middle school. One day when she and a friend were at the local mall, they ventured into a shop where she tried an imported cheese she’d never heard of before. With that taste she realized that the cheese world was much bigger than the grocery store offerings she knew.
Fast forward 20 years or so and she’s working as an attorney at a Philadelphia law firm that just happens to be around the corner from one of the best cheese shops in the region. Each week she’d find her way there to sample cheeses and listen to the cheesemonger’s stories about where they came from and how they were made. With each visit her love for artisan cheeses grew. Since then she’s traveled to Italy where she watched Parmigiano Reggiano being made, snuggled baby goats at a favorite NC farmstead creamery, visited cheesemakers and cheese shops around the country (often with her family in tow), and pretty much grabbed onto any chance to discover, taste and learn more.
When the chance came along to open her own cheese counter, she was all in. Now almost eight years after opening TRiO, she’s still learning and always on the hunt for new and exciting cheeses. An avid believer that real cheese is good food, she loves sharing her passion for all things cheese.
When Kenny and Melissa opened their original wine shop and predecessor to TRiO, Native Vine, they selected the Mother Vine as their logo. The Mother Vine resides on Roanoke Island, and is believed to be the oldest cultivated grapevine in North America, dating back to 1584 when some of the first settlers arrived in the New World.
When John and Jennifer partnered with Kenny and Melissa in 2011 to create TRiO, we decided to keep the Mother Vine, silhouetted by the setting sun, as the logo for our joint venture. We all felt that the vine represents the legacy of our company here on the Outer Banks. We also believe that this amazing vine, over 400 years old, symbolically captures the timeless nature of the Wine, Beer, & Cheese that we love. As trendy as they may be, or not be, throughout history, Wine, Beer, & Cheese have always been. They have been a part of almost every culture for generations and centuries and while rooted in tradition, they’re still growing. They have endured and, we believe, they always will. Timeless – just like the Mother Vine.