The 2018 Retailers of the Year Part 4

Selected by Hand

By Maura Keller

Walk into Grapes the Wine Company and youll immediately feel like the store is reminiscent of a beautiful library—thanks in part to the custom-built redwood tree racking, complete with easy-to-navigate displays. Named one of the most influential wine retailers in the country by the Wall Street Journal, Grapes the Wine Company prides itself on their unique hand-selected wines and its knowledgeable staff, who help customers choose the very best wines available in todays marketplace.

We take great pride in the time and effort put forth to create a selection of wines and spirits that we can be proud of, says owner Daniel Posner. We have 3,000 SKUs on the shelf, but they are each hand chosen and in most cases—particularly if under $30—tasted by the staff to determine if the wine is of the quality that we would like to see.

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In addition, Prosner tries to make each clients buying experience seamless. When you walk into the store, you are greeted by a member of the staff immediately, who will try to help with your selection, Prosner says. We have no floor stacks or shelf talkers in the store. We want you to ask questions, and we want you to seek advice for your purchase.

After having been in business over 20 years, each and every award and accolade that Grapes the Wine Company receives means everything to the ownership and the staff.

We take great pride in knowing that what we are doing does not go unnoticed, with our clients and with the wine community as a whole, Posner says.

Customers and Community

By Andrew Madigan

In 2003, Banks Wine & Spirits was opened in Millville, Delaware, a resort area near Bethany Beach, easily accessible from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia. Banks is a family operation owned by Kami Banks Kane, her mother Mackie and her brother Ted.

Banks is a mammoth store weighing in at 9,700 square feet. They have a vast, diverse inventory including 350 beers, 2,500 wines, 1,000 spirits and an eight-tap selection of growlers. Banks is known for its range of whiskey, bourbon and single-malt scotch, but it also carries a wide assortment of local, seasonal and craft beers. Stock is rotated frequently, so theres always something new on tap. We have partnered with local breweries to age beer in our single-barrel bourbon barrels that we then feature on our tap system, Kane says. 

Banks is also a great place to find the perfect wine. In December 2017, they orchestrated a high-end wine tasting in partnership with three of their suppliers. Wine Spectator later cited two of their featured wines as #1 and #2 on their Top 100 wines. This is no coincidence. Banks is dedicated to employee training. They hold monthly seminars at employee homes to build a strong team, have fun and learn about the products. Theyve also brought on a full-time wine expert.

In large part, Kane attributes the stores success to exceptional customer service. Our number-one philosophy is customer service. Whether its special orders to carrying out purchases, we want to assist the customer from the moment they step inside our store, she says.

Kane is most proud of Banks commitment to the local community. They are heavily involved with fundraising, non-profit groups, local government and industry organizations. Banks has won a number of awards, both from regional magazines and the local Chamber of Commerce. Its easy to see why, given their personal touch with customers, treating employees well and doing right by the community.

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