Since teaching her first painting class more than two years ago, Sophia Moormeier’s Paint and Sip studio has been so successful that two weeks ago she moved from downtown Longview to a larger space in the Three Rivers Mall.
During her classes, Moormeier helps attendees paint a predetermined image –such as a nature scene or posed animals – while sipping beer, wine or non-alcoholic drinks.
Moormeier, 36, schedules paint sessions throughout each month. Supplies are included for each class, which each last about two hours. She suggests attendees buy tickets ahead of time to guarantee a seat.
Class prices typically range from $15 to $30 depending on the painting and canvas size. Moormeier said her prices are “more than comparable” to businesses that hold painting classes at restaurants or other locations. People can also reserve the studio for parties or pay to individually paint something of their choosing.
Although Moormeier offers beer and wine, attendees don’t have to drink and the studio is open to all ages. She said one of her favorite parts of the business is seeing the end results of each class.
“The big thing is watching someone gain confidence in themselves,” Moormeier said.
Paint and Sip’s old 700-square-foot space felt cramped, especially compared to the new 5,000-square-foot spot in the mall, Moormeier said. The new space means 50 people can easily attend classes, compared to the old limit of 32, she said.
The expanded space also allows Paint and Sip to offer more than just painting, Moormeier said. She’s already scheduled two blanket knitting workshops and plans to add in other projects like string art and glass painting.
Moormeier said her husband helped renovate the new location, including painting the shelves along the walls to create a rainbow.
“I want you to feel comfortable and happy when you walk in,” she said.
Regular attendees are excited about the expanded space but Moormeier said some are unsure of its new location.
“Some people are hesitant because it’s in the mall,” Moormeier said. “But it’s really becoming a place of things to do.”
To go along with the beverages, Moormeier said she also serves a small food menu. Paint and Sip is the only mall occupant besides the movie theater to serve food and drinks, so it could be a place for mall employees to have lunch, she said.
Moormeier has run Paint and Sip as a second business to her massage practice until recently, so most of the classes are in the evenings or on weekends. She said she plans to expand the business’s hours next month.
Moormeier wanted to open up Paint and Sip since attending a paint class in Portland in 2012. She went with two friends, one of whom was usually “glued to her phone” but didn’t touch it the whole class, she said.
“I saw so much value in it,” she said. “On the drive home, I told them ‘I will open up something like that.’ ”
After years of dreaming, as well as teaching herself to paint, Moormeier opened her shop on Commerce Avenue in 2016. She said after the first year she wanted to expand.
“It’s always exceeded expectations,” Moormeier said.
The studio is a family business. Her three kids help clean the shop, sell food and even teach classes, she said.
“It’s fun watching them grow up in the business and learning what it takes to run a business,” she said.
Moormeier said she generates half the ideas for paintings herself and the other half come from photographs or online. Besides picking something visually appealing, Moormeier said she pays attention to things people want to paint.
“I wouldn’t want people to walk away and not get their money’s worth,” she said.