New Wine Shop

News and views on shopping in the county town.
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New Wine Shop

Post by HertfordWino » Mon 18 Apr, 2016 5:06 pm

As a reader of this forum, I was wondering if I could do a little market research. I have been working for the last few years with a French Wine Merchant and we are looking to establish ourselves in the UK with some high street shops and an online presence. Being from Hertford originally, I was looking at opening the first shop in the town.

We would look to stock mainly small producer European Wine, a small selection of new world wine, domestic and imported craft beer along with a small line of French, Japanese and Scottish Whiskies and some other spirits. I know that Hertford already has a selection of convenience stores, supermarkets and a Majestic that provide a range of selection of wine for various palettes.

Do you feel that this addition to the Hertford Wine scene would be welcomed and used, or do you think that the general wine requirements of Hertford residents are already taken care of with the present outlet offerings ?
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by mistlethrush » Mon 18 Apr, 2016 5:24 pm

In my opinion we are definitely missing a specialist beer shop (I know you are more aimed at wine, but I'm more interested in beer!).
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Darcy Sarto
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by Darcy Sarto » Mon 18 Apr, 2016 6:10 pm

If you stock "proper" French cider at a reasonable price and Banyuls then you'll get my custom but, try ad I might, it may not be enough.
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by SloopJohnB » Tue 19 Apr, 2016 12:28 pm

This is a question I have been asked so many times in so many different formats. The problem is to balance a niche market with good profit margins where the footfall is high enough. Unfortunately Hertford could not support Oddbins and Victoria Wine also left. On the other hand Margaret Hart survived by being the only haberdashery for miles around and offering to post small items to customers in Watford who rang to ask where in Hertford they could park. The town supports a diving school and Jane at Retail Therapy has survived and thrived by knowing her trade and knowing who her customers are, where they live and what they want. Something to be learned here.

The big boys have seen off many independent wine merchants. I worked for one many years ago and a friend of mine was asked by the bosses why his sales were falling but they didn't accept that it was caused in part by Tesco on his doorstep with free parking. The supermarkets also offer good and often very wide choice and at an affordable price and are cheaper than a night out down the pub. Not saying that this is a good thing but it is true.

People do think that the streets of Hertford are paved with gold. I have listened to many a failed trader who thought along those lines. However there does appear to be a rich hinterland who are willing to come to town if they can get what they want without I might add falling foul of the parking regime. The trick is to get them in. If you were to sit in the middle of Salisbury Square for a few hours each day you'd see the kind of footfall and socio-economic make up of the potential shopper in Hertford. Erol at Senova Cycles is new in town and sells high end bikes and is doing well - good for him because there was a certain amount of a gamble there (what goes for Jane goes for him as well). So it can be done. Customers of all the shops I mentioned do appreciate someone who knows their trade and will offer sound advice without expecting immediate sales but they go out with a warm feeling about the place and hopefully come back

There is in all towns a dead period from about 5.00pm until 8.00pm. Tesco and Sainsburys are OK because they have a car park. Parking in town is not the best shopping experience you will have so finding the right premises is important. That and advertising; and what goes down well here is 'word of mouth'.

Apologies if this is grandmother sucking eggs but based on my years as Town Centre Manager. Always happy to pass on any experience if you want to get in touch.
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by monkeyman1974 » Tue 19 Apr, 2016 9:26 pm

I registered specifically so I could encourage you to open up; having placed an online order for a case of Voglar and some Bandol Rose. I'm being selfish naturally, but please go ahead. You'll know what majestic sell (and what they don't (Clare Valley - Riesling please)).

I do think some decent beer is a good shout, especially from local(ish) brewers (but not McMu) would be terrific, and give you some turnover.

Its such a saturated market though. Good luck, a proper independent would be a terrific addition to the hertford retail offer. Good luck
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Darcy Sarto
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by Darcy Sarto » Tue 19 Apr, 2016 11:28 pm

My mum lives in a town centre far "ooop north" but with a similar (if older) demographic. A wine shop opened just round the corner from her which very much has the look of an Oddbins style off licence but also has a couple of tables inside and out where you can drink your purchases immediately without being a "full on" wine bar. It appears to be thriving.
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by codek2 » Wed 20 Apr, 2016 9:16 am

Thats interesting Darcy - It ties in with the rise of the micro pub - similar thing, a bottle shop with a few tables....

But being a brewer myself with a serious overstock problem right now - i can't say i'd use it :)
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by beebopb » Wed 20 Apr, 2016 10:42 am

I'd certainly welcome somewhere with a decent selection of craft beers.
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by rogerstone » Thu 21 Apr, 2016 12:31 pm

Doubt I'd be that interested in wines, although I do like wine, but I'd certainly be more so in craft beers.
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Re: New Wine Shop

Post by Smudger » Thu 21 Apr, 2016 11:14 pm

I tried to persuade these guys to come to Hertford.
They were keen to move into the old MacDonalds building, but the post office beat them to it.

Convenience store, restaurant, and bar all rolled into one.
Massive range of craft beers in the store, and you can drink them in the bar with a small corkage charge.
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