In addition to profiling our 2021 Retailer of the Year, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, our editorial team has chosen four other Top 100 winners ranked in our top 20 to highlight. This includes Argonaut Wine & Liquor of Denver, CO.
All Top 100 retailers are leaders in their markets, demonstrating how off-premise stores can provide great customer service, stay on top of the latest trends and get involved in the local community.
Argonaut: Generations of Leadership
Considered to be Denver, Colorado’s largest liquor store, Argonaut Wine and Liquor has made a name for itself in the region since the 1930s.
“The earliest mention we could find of the Argonaut liquor store was in the 1930s,” says Josh Robinson, co-owner and manager. “My family bought the store in the early 1960s from a family we sold insurance to. Since then, four generations of our family have run the store. In 2008 we moved to our third building on the same block of historic Colfax Avenue with our new 40,000-square-foot facility.”
Currently, Argonaut stocks more than 15,000 types of liquor, beer and wine, including an array of Colorado craft beer and spirits at some of the most competitive prices in the state.
Argonaut has not only earned a reputation for having the widest selection in the Denver metropolitan area, but it is also one of most environmentally conscious liquor stores in the country.
Solar cells grace the store’s roof to supply approximately 17 percent of the business’ power needs. LED lighting throughout the establishment’s cooler doors reduce heat within the store’s environs.
The store’s mantra, “Argonaut has it!” bodes well for those looking for unique product offerings. These cover the gamut of all types of liquor categories, as well as nonalcohol products, including wine accessories, mixers and soda, food and snacks, as well as cigars and cigarettes.
“Also, we are one of the largest delivery stores in the state of Colorado and go above and beyond for our customers,” Robinson says. “Our customer service and knowledgeable staff create one of the best customer experiences in the state.”
During the pandemic, demand for delivery exploded. As such, one of the largest challenges for the Argonaut team — especially toward the beginning of the pandemic — was figuring out how to completely overhaul the company’s e-commerce and delivery process to make it more efficient.
“Thanks to the hard work and innovativeness of our staff, we were able to more than double our daily capacity for delivery orders,” Robinson says. “Pre-pandemic, on our busiest days, we would be in the 150 delivery per day range. Now we easily have the capacity to do 300 in one day, and are working on solutions to build our capacity further.”
In addition to offering a streamlined delivery process, the owners of Argonaut also pride themselves on educating their employees on the plethora of products gracing the store’s shelves, so that the company can offer the best customer service.
This includes ensuring all employees are TIPS certified to ensure safe and legal sales. Several times per week, the company also educates 90-plus employees on products and suppliers.
The biggest development for the last few years for Argonaut has been the introduction of the fourth generation of ownership at the store. Robinson has recently become a co-owner and now purchases all the spirits for the store.
As the liquor buyer, Robinson has enjoyed finding new products, as well as creating new offerings with compelling stories for Argonaut customers.
“Through programs like single barrel programs, and also leveraging our relationships to bring unique items into the store, we always have something new and exciting to recommend to our consumers,” Robinson says.
Argonaut also offers a frequent-shopper program, whereby for every dollar spent on non-sale items, the customer receives one point. For every 250 points earned, the customer receives a $10 in-store credit. With over 40,000 members, the program has proven to be beneficial.
Throughout the five decades that Robinson and his family have grown Argonaut, they have made a name for themselves within the Colorado liquor industry, both among consumers and industry members
They have also earned accolades aplenty through the years, including most recently having been named among the Top 100 Retailers by Beverage Dynamics magazine.
Product and customer service aside, the Argonaut team also believes in giving back to the community at large. That’s why the company proudly donates to several charities annually, and sponsors the Denver Film Festival.
They also serve on the board of Colfax Business Improvement District to promote and improve the Colfax Business Improvement District and Colfax Corridor for business and residents alike. Argonaut also is fully engaged in the “Keep Colorado Local” movement to preserve the small local business in Colorado.
Robinson is excited to grow Argonaut with the Denver market, as Denver has proven to be a hot spot for people to move in the last few years.
“As the city grows, so do the amount of people we can reach,” Robinson says. “I hope we can grow with a new generation of Coloradans and become as big of a household name, as we have been for those who have lived in Colorado for the last 50 years.”
Melissa Sherwin is a freelance writer and marketing communications strategist from Chicago, IL. Her work has appeared in Chicago’s Daily Herald newspaper, Time Out Chicago, Suburban Life newspapers, and various magazines. She is also the author of several children’s books. Follow her @MelissaNSherwin. Read her recent piece, How RNDC Built A Legacy of Expertise.