Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics - March/April 2017

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Retailer Profile 14 Beverage Dynamics • March/April 2017 "Two of our stores are physically larger than the other, but more importantly, the demographics of each store is very dif- ferent," he says. In Nashville, Sonnenberg remembers a time when custom- ers would commute more than 50 miles to visit his store. How- ever, the city has experienced dramatic growth over the past several decades, especially in the downtown area where Frugal MacDoogal is located. With such growth came additional retail competition. Population shifts included a boom of Millennials, and Sonnenberg says that a large portion of his consumer base now consists of young professionals who spend a significant portion of their income on lifestyle and entertainment options. This consumer base also happens to be well-educated about the beverage industry, and they deliberately seek out retailers that offer the latest product selections and additional information about the items on store shelves, particularly in the fine wine and craft beer segments. Conversely, while one of Sonnenberg's South Carolina stores is located in a booming geographical area, the other is set in a less affluent location, meaning that products at each store are tailored to suit each target customer's budget. "You sell what the customer wants - that's the bottom line," Sonnenberg says. "We also bill ourselves as a low-price leader, and we need to continue to be a leader in that area no matter what." He also notes that it's more difficult to hold consumers' in- terest and keep them engaged than it was in years past. "Before, we used to try and make the stores exciting and offer entertainment as part of the shopping experience," Son- nenberg reflects. "Now you need to use social media to keep customers engaged. It's become less about entertainment and more about giving them meaningful product information and a tasting experience." Frugal MacDoogal has long since recognized the value of investing in social media, which is a challenging undertaking for brick-and-mortar stores that don't have the added advantage of selling online. Sonnenberg has staff members who work closely with an external social media specialist to generate content de- signed to engage customers and draw them into the stores. He encourages other retailers to invest in this technology by bring- ing in the expertise of outside professionals in order to take full advantage of social media's reach and metrics. Sonnenberg is also very committed to providing consumer education about products through events like in-store tastings There are three Furgal MacDoogal stores in TN and SC. Each location has a different style and product selection to fit its local market.

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