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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Page 21 of 87

Market Profi le Nancy Rosenberg, owner of fi ve Big Top Liquor stores in the Twin Cities—a fami- ly-owned business in the community since 1981— expects to do additional business in at least her St. Paul location. "We welcome this with open arms, hoping to successfully service our customers," she says. "We will be adjusting schedules to cover these additional hours and plan to add extra part-time shifts." BIG BOX STORE UPENDS MARKET Adding yet another competitor to a highly sat- urated market, Maryland-based Total Wine & More began opening stores in the Twin Cities area in 2014 with locations in Roseville, Burnsville, Woodbury and Bloomington. With the knowledge that the chain sells many of its goods near cost, local retailers lamented their inability to succeed on such thin margins. "We're never going to beat these stores at price on a lot of items," Steve Grausam, director of liquor operations for Edina's municipal stores, told the Star-Tribune at the time. "We started rebranding our stores to emphasize that profi ts get poured back into the community." Some councils in the Twin Cities area are using the power of the pen to protect their locally owned liquor stores. The Min- neapolis suburb of Minnetonka in September 2016 rejected a liquor-license application by Total Wine, saying the area had enough liquor stores. The year prior, the city turned down Target's application to sell liquor at an area SuperTarget store. It was the fi rst time Target had been denied a license since it added liquor and wine to its Minnesota stores in 2014. "The pie is only so big," Farrell says. "[Total Wine has] defi - nitely taken market share from ev- erybody. They are a big player and the wine world, and it forces you to become a better retailer." Chuck Kanski, proprietor at Solo Vino Bottle Shop in St. Paul, says his store will remain closed Sundays despite the law allowing sales that day, "but we are happy to have the option." The big winners, he says, will be larger stores and grocers. Solo Vino has been in business for almost 16 years, and Kanski says its ethos is about guest relationships and staff knowledge, and that its sales have held steady to small year-over-year percentage increases since Total Wine came on the scene. In contrast, Rosenberg says her 40-year-old family business has seen three of its locations affected by lost sales since Total Wine's entrance. She says increased competition with this and other large chains continues to be her biggest challenge. "It has impacted us, but it makes us sharper and more fo- cused," she says, adding that the family's third generation is now joining its ranks. She's hopeful the new, younger leadership can craft innovative, tech-savvy ways to engage the community. "We have seen some of our customers coming back," she says, be- cause Big Top provides "a compelling shopping experience. If we have fair pricing, good employee engagement and fun pro- motions, there is a place for us." RENEWED MARKETING PUSH In part to maintain its standing among the new big box com- petition, Haskell's—a presence in the Twin Cities since 1934— 22 Beverage Dynamics • March/April 2017 "WE WELCOME THIS WITH OPEN ARMS, HOPING TO SUCCESSFULLY SERVICE OUR CUSTOMERS." —NANCY ROSENBERG, OWNER OF FIVE BIG TOP LIQUORS There are fi ve Big Top Liquor stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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