This summer, we counted down the top five retailers on our Top 100 list, culminating in the Retailer of the Year award for Twin Liquors. Below, you can read about the other four retailers in this elite group, who were chosen as the best retailers in the country for their overall business practices.
These four retailers have set the industry standard for excellence:
- Headquarters: North Wayne, NJ
- Founded: 1987
- Number of Locations: 5
- Average Size: 12,000 square feet
Gary’s flagship location in Wayne includes its corporate offices and online business, as well as one of the largest gourmet departments in the country. Customers enjoy a wide selection of cheeses and meats, plus tastings at the store’s wine bar and a selection of thousands of SKUs.
During the last year, the store launched a “Direct to Gary’s” initiative, which offers customers a 10% discount when they purchase six or more of 300-plus private label wines. The company also rolled out a mobile app to increase delivery orders and engage with younger customers. And it recently added Power BI, a reporting tool integrated with the point of sale system that provides robust reports about each location. Just two weeks before Christmas last year, Gary’s opened its fifth location in Closter, NJ.
In terms of product mix, wine makes up 65% of sales, with spirits at 15% and beer at 12%. The remaining 8% comes from non-alcohol products.
Benefits of Gary’s customer loyalty program include members-only coupons and access to an individualized portfolio that shows shopping history. That’s part of the “Gary’s Experience” that the company cultivates, in-person and online.
What sets the company apart? “Attention to detail and time spend on learning about guests’ wants and needs. Investing time and money in education for staff and being comfortable saying you can’t find a team anywhere with the knowledge our team offers. Most companies say the customer is their top priority, where at Gary’s we show it.”
Gary’s was the Beverage Dynamics Retailer of the Year in 2012 and one of our Retailers of the Year in 2018. Owner Gary Fisch is currently the president of the Wine & Spirits Guild and a member of the Taster’s Guild of New Jersey.
- Headquarters: Louisville, KY
- Founded: 1988
- Number of Locations: 17
- Average Size: 15,000-30,000 square feet
Liquor Barn’s flagship store in Lexington is 40,000 square feet and includes rare wine, hard-to-find spirits, a growler bar, full deli and exotic food selection. The company calls its bourbon and whiskey collection among the finest in the U.S. (and perhaps the world).
Blue Equity, which owns both brands, acquired the Liquor Barn stores from Canadian-based Liquor Stores N.A., a publicly-traded company, less than two years ago. Since then, the company has built a management team from scratch. Accomplishments from the past year are numerous, including conversion to a new point of sale system, centralizing buying, seven-figure capital expenditure improvements, resetting stores and moving into cigar retailing.
Perhaps most impressive is the company’s proprietary app, created to facilitate a delivery option for customers.
The company’s sales mix is 45% spirits, 35% wine and 15% beer, with 5% coming from non-alcohol products.
What sets Liquor Barn and Party Mart stores apart in a competitive market like Kentucky? “Being first-to-market for delivery in the state, first with a proprietary app, having the finest bourbon allocations in the nation and a top customer experience.”
Liquor Barn was previously listed among the Beverage Dynamics Retailers of the Year in 2018.
- Headquarters: Pineville, MO
- Founded: 1997
- Number of Locations: 9
- Average Size: 10,000 square feet
Macadoodles founder Roger Gildehaus spent many years working at Walmart, interacting directly with Sam Walton on many occasions. He took the lessons he learned when creating Macadoodles, which has a flagship store of 13,000 square feet with 4,700 dedicated to wine. The stores are designed with a rustic, wood-construction charm, including open tresses and a wood floor inside.
The company is currently undergoing a complete redesign of its website and installing a cloud-based point of sale system that will interact with its electronic shelf labels (ESLs). Gildehaus spoke about that project, and the importance overall of investing in technology, during a panel discussion at the 2019 Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference.
Macadoodles’ sales mix is 27% spirits, 15% beer, 14% wine and an impressive 44% for non-alcohol products (Missouri law has few restrictions on what can be sold in-store).
What sets Macadoodles apart? “Superior customer service, competitive pricing, knowledgeable sales staff and having the best selection of any store in the area.”
- Headquarters: Wheat Ridge, CO
- Founded: 1961
- Number of Locations: 1
- Average Size: 100,000 square feet
Applejack’s single location features more than 15,000 SKUs, which can be purchased in-store, ordered online and picked up, or ordered for delivery. The store has been serving the Denver area for more than 50 years, specializing in fine wine, craft beer and premium spirits.
Within the past year, the company has implemented 2-hour in-store pickup, restructured its warehouse and launched a new training program with Trift. By the end of 2019, it plans to launch a new loyalty program that includes rewards toward future purchases, priority access to new releases, special events and VIP giveaways.
The store uses a 360-degree marketing approach to attract customers with the right message at the right time. That includes radio partnerships, cross-device digital buys and using search engine marketing to drive purchases. Applejack also uses a targeted approach on social media, a combination of visually engaging promotional content and targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Applejack’s sales mix is 50% wine, 30% spirits, 18% beer and 2% non-alcohol.
What sets the store apart in the competitive Colorado market? “Huge selection, second-to-none customer service, low prices and our free delivery option for orders of $100 or more in the Denver metro area.”
Applejack Wine & Spirits was Beverage Dynamics Retailer of the Year in 2005 and among the Retailers of the Year in 2018.