Warm, candid and welcoming, Miles and Mayra Hendrickson are some of the friendliest faces you’ll find in Incline Village. Miles and Mayra have built a life together as a family in the community, having lived here for more than a decade.
“We want to be family friendly and community oriented.” -Miles Hendrickson
“We met at Sierra Nevada College. I tried to date her for two years, but Mayra was too focused on school,” Miles says. “I kept asking her out and then when I stopped calling, she missed me.” Miles and Mayra started dating in 2004 and married in 2013.
Throughout the years, Mayra acted as a server at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Miles worked at a prosthetics and orthopedic business in Carson City. But when Affordable Health Care took effect, smaller medical practices started to close and the future of the prosthetics businesses looked dim. Mayra had transitioned into working at Incline Property Management as an accountant, but she found that she was too social to be in an office job.
“It was killing me because I loved being out in front of people. I loved customer service,” she says. “I thought, ‘I’m going to die in this cubicle and no one’s going to notice until the end of the month.’ That’s when we decided we needed to change paths.”
At that time, Miles was just getting into craft beer when he saw that Incline Village local Will Bringham was looking to sell his business Incline Spirits & Cigars.
“Will was very involved with the community and he knew everyone,” Miles says. But since Incline Spirits & Cigars was Will’s baby, he was particular about who he sold it to. He wanted new owners that could take care of it, grow the business and make it better.
The Hendricksons were a perfect fit. Exactly one month after they met with Will, they took over Incline Spirits & Cigars and immediately started to enhance the store.
Over the winter, they put in a bar, brought in a couple of beers on tap and geared up for summer in managing the bars at the IVGID-owned beaches. Currently, the couple manages 14 employees and is always trying to find the right balance to cater to the different demographics of people who frequent them.
“We sell a lot more smoothies at Burnt Cedar,” Miles says of the more family-oriented beach where they sell beverages. “We’re always rotating our selection and bringing in high-end stuff. We want our employees to know what they’re selling.”
Mayra and Miles also display local art and host receptions once a month. “People are always asking when we’re doing tastings and we wanted to pair that up with art,” Miles says. “There’s a lot of good, diverse local talent in this town and we wanted to be different: a tavern and liquor store. We want to be family friendly and community oriented.”
The couple also donates their empty cigar boxes to the High Fives Foundation, supports the annual crab feed put on by the Incline High School Boosters Club and hosts beer tastings with proceeds going to the Incline Elementary science program. “We try to donate to causes related to children, education and disabilities,” Miles says.
The Hendricksons say that they enjoy owning a lifestyle business. “Mayra’s the smart one, I’m just the workhorse,” Miles says. He added that he takes a lot of pride in having a good product selection while Mayra does the less glamorous back-of-the-house management.
“We’re not going to get rich, but it allows us to stay in Tahoe and support the community,” Miles says. “We make enough money to cover our expenses and it feels good to work for ourselves.”
Miles and Mayra recently had their first child, Isabella, in April and like being able to raise her while managing the business. “She was born right before the busy season, so that she can help me,” Mayra says. She added that although she missed the customers while she was out with Isabella, now it seems that the employees and guests love seeing Isabella more than Mayra when they are out at the beaches. “I’m blessed I can take her with me,” Mayra says. “She hates the office, though.”
For more information on Incline Spirits & Cigars, visit inclinespirits.com.
Story & photos by Kayla Anderson