Mike and Ted Coppersmith, co-owners of Festival Foods in New London, made a decision this year to nearly double the size of the liquor store.
Factors leading to the final decision included space to accommodate microbrewery merchandise, cold beer storage, and a wine selection not available in the previous footprint of the liquor store.
The addition was completed in approximately two months.
“We used TCI out of La Crosse,” Mike said. “They are the specialists in these kinds of buildings, and built our structure here 15 years ago. Fifteen years on September 29. That’s incredible.”
Coppersmith commented that new customers from neighboring communities of Greenville, Hortonville, Clintonville, Manawa, and Waupaca have traveled those miles to obtain a favorite drink not carried at their local liquor store.
“Pick A Six” is a big hit,” he said.
Whatever six bottles of micro brew beer you chose to fill a six-pack carrier with, the price at the register remains the same.
This idea is not a first for liquor stores.
“However, I believe that other locations outside our county do not have the “Pick A Six” offered cold,” Coppersmith said.
Across the wide aisle, wine lovers may find a wine they tested at a winery as close as another county in Wisconsin, or from the vineyards in Italy. Wine flavors vary greatly, depending on the grape’s origin, how the grapes are grown, and by the final distillation process. A wine difficult to keep consistent in body and flavor, Pinot Noir tends to dictate the price.
Fine wines can run anywhere from $25–$50.
“We have fine wine and liquor included in the mix for those who look for it. We even have a locked liquor cabinet where extremely rare, pricy bottles sit. These items may possibly be sold to patrons who are celebrating a special occasion or something like that,” Coppersmith said.
Wine lovers will see that 15 or more varieties of boxed wines share the shelves.
“There are more distinctive flavors and both low and high end prices here too,” he added.
Non-gluten products have been flooding the food market for years, from cereal to milk and cake mixes. Beer and other alcohol are no different. Prior to the increased space, Festival carried just two labels of the specialized product. The gluten free beer line has nine flavors in the lineup now. Individuals with this limited diet are certain to appreciate the choice.
Outside of the new liquor store, the original Festival Foods store has created noticeable changes.
The size reduction of the front service desk allows for a 20-foot extension in three grocery aisles. Looking down at the shiny tile on the floor, one can see where the back of the large photo-processing center was. The new counter is closer to the entry doors, and allows aisle 1, 2, and 3 20 feet of extended shelving.
Coppersmith said what happened and what does happen periodically in stores: Retailers know that changing things up increases public awareness and provides a way to highlight items customers may have missed prior to the change.
“So we’ve mixed things up over the past month,” he said.
Coppersmith added, “Say we order a new line of products and the salesman suggests a great way to display it. That gets the creative juices flowing for several Festival employees who then help to accomplish the new look. This domino effect moves other items around to accommodate the fresh look. It’s definitely like a giant gig saw puzzle only this one allows customers to shop faster. I know it is a major change, and change is always difficult, but once people repeat the process it will make finding an item less stressful.”
Coppersmith also explained that to locate an item, bright orange, large paper cards hang at the end of each aisle.
“It’s an alphabetical listing and guides the customer to the correct aisle,” he said.
Another way to find your way around is to look up. Updated aisle markers allow shoppers to move quickly and cross off items on their shopping list.
“One thing that will never change is that we make requests from customers happen,” Coppersmith said. “The store employees go out of their way to greet customers and help with any concerns they voice.”