A great way to build a customer base is to allow people to regularly sample that which you have to offer, free of charge. Michigan UnTapped in downtown Charlotte has caught on to this concept in a fun way. The local specialty shop offers regular wine tastings as part of the shop local effort — Third Thursday. The next Third Thursday wine tasting will take place June 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“Couples, best friends, mothers and daughters come,” said Dawn Sneckenberg, who helps organize the wine tasting events for the shop. “Sometimes friends who live a distance apart will use our shop as a meeting place, drink wine and catch up with each other.”

Sneckenberg said each event is different though they usually open red and white wines, dry to sweet, so that there is something for people of all tastes to enjoy.

“We offer free snacks during tastings so customers can try some of the specialty foods we offer too,” Sneckenberg said.

Michigan UnTapped, owned by three Charlotte women — Amanda Wildern, Wendy Wildern and Karen Anderson — has been involved with the Third Thursday effort since the fall of 2013. A handful of local businesses stay open past normal business hours and offer special deals each third Thursday of the month.

In addition to Michigan-made wine and specialty foods, Michigan UnTapped features a wide variety of Michigan-made products.

“We offer gifts from artists across Michigan, such as pottery, wooden boards and trays, metal key chains and ornaments,” Sneckenberg said. “We are always looking for new Michigan artists.”

Sneckenberg, Cindy Gowell and Ginny Baxter, three local women, staff the shop and have helped increase the offerings at Michigan UnTapped to include private tastings and event planning.

“We recently coordinated a bachelorette party, where the hostess is doing a progressive wine tasting at five different locations and will offer all Michigan wines and appetizers using wine and specialty foods from our store,” Sneckenberg said. “We paired all of the wine and food and then supplied descriptions of each wine for the different locations.”

Michigan UnTapped is located at 205 S. Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte. For more information, call (517) 543-7288 or find Michigan UnTapped on Facebook.