Switchin' It Up
It's fall....time to shake things up in retail.
This is a shot of the newly-revamped Columbia Winery retail shop, one of my clients.
We didn't do this just because we wanted to rearrange every fixture & product in the shop, though. Some things have been happening lately to change the demographic of the shopper here. (For instance, the Spirit of Washington Wine Train stopped running, which brought an average of 200 customers per evening and 600 per weekend day right to the winery doors for tastings. That's a LOT of customers lost.) So the powers that be decided it was a good a time as any to shake things up and try something new. The photo up above shows a new use for the area across from the tasting bar: a 'bistro' area where guests can sit and sip. No food is served, and wine is still only by taste, not a glassful, but starting next week there will be live music events on Tuesday evenings - with food. Great idea!
The photo below shows how this area was used in the past....kind of a 'corridor' to the restrooms & event rooms. (When 200 to 300 people at a time are disembarking a train, do you know where they go first? Uh huh. The restrooms. There had to be a straight path!) The wall units held all of the logo clothing.
Here's what it looks like NOW:
Clothing next to tables where wine is being consumed? Not a good idea. We moved it.....
To the area that used to be books....
I swear I folded shirts for two hours. Felt like I worked at the Gap. (Actually, it reminded me of one of my jobs in high school: Store & Window displays for Jeans West Men's Clothiers in So Cal. Three stores, three malls, LOTS of clothes.) I really like the logo wear here - looks much more organized and the lighting is better. (Yes, that's actually a fireplace. It's never used so we covered it with the table.) The photo below is of the right side of the shop - cash wrap in the background, and the logo wall is located to the right just out of view.
At the back of the shop, there was an area that was formerly closed in on two sides by built-in wine racks. It was called 'the Library' and held rare vintages of wine. Then they ran out of rare vintages, and it became known as the 'Empty Wine Rack area'. Not good. Here's a before shot:
A few weeks ago, some enthusiastic staff members ripped out the old wine racks. This week, I moved our 'Kitchen' area - featuring food products, spices, cheese plates, etc. - into this space.
It is visible from the tasting bar, so when people are tasting wine and talking about what foods to pair it with, they can see the food area and be drawn to it. Below is a long shot of the new kitchen area, taken from the left front of the shop. The tasting bar is on the upper left, out of view.
Another long bank of built-in wine racks was across the whole back wall on the right side:
These have been there for ....oh, twenty years??? UGH. These offer great storage for wine in a cellar, but not in a retail setting. You can't see the labels! SO, out they went at the hands of the aforementioned staff members. We moved some freestanding units onto the wall and now the area looks like this:
Located in front of this are two giant cubby units that hold wine stock (not pictured). The table you see in the foreground here sits in between those units. Spacious, open, easily accessible & shoppable were the goals for this whole redesign, and we nailed it.
Through all of the changes, an interesting turn of events is happening....yes, they lost several thousand customers a week because of the train ceasing operation here. However, the wine shop & tasting bar have been BUSIER during weekdays and absolutely SLAMMED on weekends because people (locals, wine club members, etc.) have figured out that now they can get great service, terrific products, and NOT have to deal with the train crowds in the shop. Stuff is selling like hotcakes! And the people coming in now are spending more per transaction than the train customers were - so sales are actually UP over last year this quarter. This past week, while I have been cleaning, shoving, pushing, dragging, climbing, hanging, stacking, and folding, the shop was as busy as it usually is during the busy holidays. A few powers that be are amazed by this!
What do I always say? Change is good!!!!!!