Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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84 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 R E T A I L R E V I E W Susan Fishman WineStyles Tasting Station, the nation's largest wine boutique franchise, is pouring into new markets across the U.S. Wine And Food Experience F or as long as Bryan McGinness can remember, he's wanted to be a chef. He cooked for his wife in college and loved pairing good food with good wine. And he wanted to run his own business, doing what he was passionate about — wine and food. So Bryan and his wife Andrea seized the opportunity to do just that when they became Des Moines area developers for WineStyles, one of the largest wine boutique franchises in the country. The West Des Moines-based company was originally founded in 2002 by Brigitte Baker, of California, who then franchised it and sold it to Robert Spuck from Flori- da. Integral in the strategic planning of the franchise since 2007, The McGinnesses purchased the company from Spuck in fall 2012 and have since spearheaded the shift from its traditional retail outlets to the WineStyles Tasting Station concept, offering more than just a wine retail shop. "What we found is that you could buy wine anywhere, and we needed to dif- ferentiate ourselves from that quintessen- tial wine shop," says Bryan McGinness. "We're selling that wine and food experi- ence — an overall lifestyle." With an expanded product and service offering, WineStyles Tasting Station of- fers a unique retail experience and warm ambiance that is reminiscent of an old- world wine cellar. Wines are categorized by style and taste, rather than by varietal or region, which helps to simplify the shop- ping experience. The selection includes a rotation of unique labels and hard-to-find wines from both small and large vineyards from around the world, with most priced between $15 and $30. Each bottle is ac- companied by a description listing the wine's characteristics, flavors and sug- gested food pairings. Additionally, most WineStyles Tasting Stations feature craft beers on tap and a full wine bar, as well as small plates of artisanal cheese pairings, handmade chocolate truffles and other gourmet items. Stores also offer a variety of gifts and wine accessories including customiz- able gift baskets, monthly wine, beer, and cheese clubs, and a frequent buyer pro- gram. WineStyles Tasting Station's stores also feature weekly wine and beer tastings, private event opportunities and education classes. Last fall, the brand unveiled its new store design at the opening of its flag- ship location in Coralville, Iowa. A typi- cal WineStyles Tasting Station operates in 1,800 to 2,200 square feet, with wine and beer showcased in uniquely designed alcoves and coffee, tea, cheese and spe- cialty foods in customizable display cases. Not all of the stores have been rede- signed, but all new locations will feature the updated look and branding, and most are adding new profit centers where they can. "Some stores are located in markets like Chicago that aren't licensed for wines by the glass," notes Bryan McGinness. "So we have to be creative on how to continue to refresh, knowing that we're limited by what we can do in those stores." With more than 20 locations across the country, the company has embarked on an aggressive growth strategy to expand the brand's footprint to nearly 50 states across over the next several years. It hopes to accelerate franchise development in new cities such as Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham; North Carolina. Addi- tionally, WineStyles plans to expand its presence in existing markets and is target- ing communities in the Greater Chicago WineStyles stores offer a variety of gifts and wine accessories including customizable gift baskets, monthly wine, beer, and cheese clubs, and a frequent buyer program. A typical WineStyles Tasting Station operates in 1,800 to 2,200 square feet. The company currently has 20 locations around the U.S.

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