The 2018 Retailers of the Year Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of our series that recognizes our 2018 Retailers of the Year. In this post we honor Boones Wine & Spirits of Colorado, Legacy Wine and Spirits of Arkansas, and the European grocery-store chain Lidl, which has recently expanded into the U.S.

Check out Part 1, and Part 2, which posted in past weeks. And be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of this series, which will come out here in the next few weeks.

Beverage Dynamics for the second time opened up its annual Retailers of the Year Awards to a nomination process, attracting entries from top retailers across the country. Many received nominated from wholesalers, suppliers and other industry vendors, while some nominated themselves. All were required to complete a detailed entry form that included financial information, product mix, staffing and training policies, advertising spend and community engagement.

After our editorial team reviewed the entries, we chose 32 retailers as the best of the best. They represent every part of the off-premise industry, from single-store operations to large regional chains.

Winners will receive their awards at the second annual Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference in Denver. Congratulations to everyone who won, and good luck to the retailers who enter next years awards!

Bigger and Better

By Melissa Sherwin

Sometimes being the biggest isnt enough. For Beverly Barnes and Geoff Moser, co-owners of Boones Wine & Spirits, its also about being the best.

As the largest liquor store in Eagle County, Colorado, Boones offers its customers the widest product assortment in the area. The business operates based on a community-focused model, with a store motto of buying big, selling low and having fun.

Our relationship with our customers and our community is by far the most important thing to us, Barnes says. Our customers say to us all the time that the vibe in our store is so unique because its such a fun and welcoming place to be.

One of the reasons Boones has developed such a loyal customer following is because the company is known for its commitment to the local community. As the title sponsor of the annual Screaming Eagle Golf Tournament, Boones helps raise money each year to benefit Eagle County public school scholarships. Staff members volunteer for the Salvation Army as bell-ringer fundraisers around the holidays and at other events throughout the year. Other fundraisers include supporting the areas local 4-H chapter, Eagle County Rodeo and Mountain Rescue organization.

Boones is also very connected to its local environment. The store is based in the Vail ski resort community, and it capitalizes on the areas outdoor mindset by bringing the spirit of outdoor adventure into a lot of its programming. Because Boones is based in a freestanding building, it features a large parking lot that is often used for store events and community fundraisers. An outdoor adventure board prominently displayed near the stores main entrance prompts customers with activity-based questions such as Whats your favorite thing to do outside during the spring? Customers can interact with the board by adding their comments to it in chalk.

Innovative Programs

Despite her stores size and reputation, Barnes says the one thing shes most proud of is Boones constant commitment to trying new things to better meet customer needs. Business practices and programming are evaluated on a weekly basis, and changes are routinely implemented. This practice has paid off, as Boones continues to grow at a rapid pace. Customers know they can go to Boones and get the products they want, along with the expert knowledge of store employees (the company currently has five certified sommeliers on staff and runs comprehensive training programs for all staff).

Along with great selection and service, customers also rely on Boones to offer programs that add value to the overall shopping experience. A wedding registry program launched several months ago, which has gained popularity by word-of-mouth. A drive-by shopping program kicked off in April, permitting customers to pre-order and pay online, call or text the store when theyre en route, and park in a special spot in the parking lot to wait for a staff member to bring the order out to them. Theres no cost for this service, which is available for anyone to use.

Its great for moms with young kids who maybe dont want to pack them all up just to take a quick trip into the store, or really just for anyone whos in a hurry, Moser explains.

Some programs have been retooled based on customer feedback. After Boones initially launched its loyalty program, the store conducted a customer survey to collect feedback and identify areas of improvement. Ultimately, the program was adjusted to yield to consumer preference. Instead of a traditional points-based system, the rewards program is now a cash-back model. Customers get 2% back on every purchase and can use the amount at any time. Moser says there are currently more than 10,000 active members of the loyalty program, and some of them have accumulated several hundreds of dollars of rewards on their accounts. Members also receive other e-mail communications from Boones promoting new products, upcoming events and special offers.

We are implementing new ideas constantly, Barnes says. These take time and focus and are not put on the backburner.

As a result, Boones customers remain happy with (and loyal to) Eagle Countys top beverage destination.

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