Alexei Khimenko, was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. At the age of 10, he was accepted into the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet Academy. After graduating at 17, he joined the Bolshoi Ballet Grigorovich Theatre. Alexei toured around the world for nearly four years, fulfilling his childhood dream of exploring the world, its cultures and traditions. Alexei’s touring career brought him to the United States where he worked with multiple ballet companies before retiring as a principal dancer following 12 successful years.
Just before his 31st birthday, Alexei opened his first business — Aleksey’s Market in Nashville, Tenn., where he sold Russian and Eastern European food and delicatessen.
Two years later, in 2005, Alexei expanded into to the wine and liquor business by opening Aleksey’s Imports, a wine and spirits wholesale distributorship. At first it was a one-person operation, with Alexei taking orders one day and delivering them to customers the following day. But his business grew quickly, challenging Alexei to expand into East Tennessee with the opening of Aleksey’s Imports Chattanooga. With his Nashville operation continuing to grow faster than expected, Alexei sold his market in 2006 and then the Chattanooga company a few years later to focus on the Nashville wholesale business.
In 2012, he was approached by Ajax Turner, Nashville’s premiere beer wholesaler, and a few months later Aleksey’s Nashville became part of Ajax Turner Co. After three years with Ajax Turner as Managing Director of its Wine and Spirits Division, Alexei left to spend more time with his wife and kids who were about to enter school, and to pursue his new dream.
During his career as a wine wholesaler, Alexei learned the inner workings of many suppliers’ operations and helped launch multiple new brands. New brand concept development was always the most favorite part of his job. For quite some time, Alexei dreamed of combining his background in art and theatre with his experience in the wine business.