Franklin Avenue is a bustling street just a few minutes south of downtown Minneapolis. If you drive down it long enough, you’ll see a giant blue and red sign announcing “Liquors” — and underneath that, “Zipps.” Zipps Liquors is a single-location, 10,000-square-foot store known for its kegs and craft beer selection.
Along with beer, customers can find wine and spirits including vodka, whiskey, tequila, and RTDs/seltzers. “We carry mainstream offerings but also regularly stock and can find specialty products to meet everybody’s needs,” says Jennifer Schoenzeit, owner of Zipps Liquors.
Fulfilling everybody’s needs is central to Zipps’ store philosophy. Customers can reap the benefits of frequent visits through the loyalty rewards program, which offers in-store credit. The store also offers a number of deals and discounts to keep customers coming back. “Our wine discount increases based on quantity purchased (e.g. 5% for six or 10% for 12). We also have a package purchase deal: buy one to five specific products we choose and get rewarded with the opportunity to purchase one of our selected specially allocated high-end products, promoted on social media and to our mailing lists,” explains Schoenzeit.
Zipps hosts events like Champagne Supernova and Candamonium, offering in-store tastings of over 100 products in sparkling wine, and canned craft beer/box wine, respectively. Zipps operates by lottery system for rare allocations. These invitation-only events are sent to the store’s mailing lists for loyalty rewards customers. Everything is promoted on social media and through email blasts, and the store invests heavily in digital advertisements, both through social media platforms and on their mobile-friendly website.
The store’s digital-focused strategy paid off throughout the pandemic, allowing them to embrace curb-side pickup and third-party delivery apps. 2023 also brought plenty of improvements. Zipps built a tasting classroom and community space. This focus on customer experience was supported with other updates, including in-store visuals such as new signage and price tags. In the future, ZIpps aims to grow its sales levels by improving store infrastructure and aesthetics, such as the parking lot, carport and landscaping, and by adding a new delivery vehicle and focusing on hiring.
Zipps is also active in the local community. The business, located in a vibrant neighborhood known for its co-op and local involvement, is part of the Seward Community Civic Association (SCCA) and the Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG). “We donate to most requests within a six-mile radius of the store,” says Schoenzeit, “and we have a round up program at the register with a different non-profit beneficiary each month. Past partners include Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest, Toys for Tots Minnesota, Second Harvest food shelves, Soup for You, People and Pets, and Veterans Home.”
“When we put our customers first and recognize their specific needs, we all win,” says Schoenzeit. “We work hard to understand our neighborhood and our customers and then we order beverages so they can have what they want, rather than just stocking the latest trends.”
Being recognized as a Top 100 retailer is “a great honor that recognizes the work we do to take care of our customers. Every customer. Every time.”
Read Jamie Stafford’s recent piece, The Top Gin Trends in 2023.