For Aaron Rosenow, owner of Vern’s Retail Liquor in Topeka, KS, being a second-generation, and the only veteran-owned store in the Topeka area, separates his company in customers’ minds.
“Our employees and customer service also definitely set us apart from other stores,” Rosenow says. “We make sure that everyone who comes through our doors knows that they are the reason we are still open and deserving of awards like the Top 100.”
2023 marks the store’s 10th anniversary in this location, with more than 3,000 square feet teeming with a wide selection of liquor, wine, beer and nonalcoholic selections. In addition, Vern’s Retail Liquor offers wholesale delivery to bars and restaurants dotting the Topeka area, specifically those in counties adjacent to the county in which the store resides. This unique partnership with venues means that retail customers are exposed to a unique array of product selections that they may not otherwise have access to.
“We always look at different items that are or may become available, and see if that item could benefit our customers,” Rosenow says. “We also look at the past performance of items to see if we need to purchase more or less, if that item is put on a deep sale. Of course, the customer will always be our best metric for buying.”
Moreover, the store’s weekly “Flash Sale,” which they have held for more than a decade now, brings new customers in every week. It is promoted via the company’s Facebook page.
The sale is something that customers consistently look forward to, and has resulted in an increased social media following. Rosenow also uses Facebook and Instagram to promote new and limited items, as well as share stories and images with their audience. And the store’s new app will offer the opportunity to further connect with consumers via push notifications, and also provides customers with the option to purchase items through the app and then pick up in-store.
Rosenow has embraced various opportunities to be involved in the beverage retail industry. In addition to belonging to the Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers and the Kansas Association of Responsible Liquor Laws, Rosenow also has served at the President and former Treasurer of the Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers.
While Vern’s Retail Liquor has certainly made a name for itself in Topeka, Rosenow recognizes the important role that social media continues to play in expanding their market presence.
“In the 1990s we had a very successful radio campaign that people still reference,” Rosenow says. “With changing times, we have come to the conclusion that social media is the best way to target and get our message out.”
Looking ahead, Rosenow is excited about future opportunities for Vern’s Retail Liquor. “We always talk about a second location or even expanding our current store,” Rosenow says. “But having growth no matter how big or small year after year is our main goal.”