This is the one of several recurring posts from David Lazarus about the intricacies of opening and running a wine shop. David’s posts will appear on Wednesdays.
We finally got the store open to the public and made our first sale. It should be great and we should be able to relax and just sell wine, right? Not so fast! There were a few glitches upon opening.
We opened our door with a fancy point-of-sale (POS) computerized register that turned out to be non-operational. That means no inventory control, no fancy receipts, no tracking customer sales history. This made life harder since much of the wine sold in the first several weeks was not tracked and I only noticed sales after several bottles of a wine had been sold. Although this was a major headache and somewhat embarrassing, it was not the only glitch at opening.
We had been so busy just getting the store set up that we hadn’t remembered simple things like bags for our customers to carry the wine home. We also had not done anything about wine accessories. It took about a week after opening for me to find a source for the bags, and then another week or so before I got the wine accessories ordered. But the store was finally beginning to reflect what I’d envisioned.
What more could we have to worry about? Now we can sit back and sell wine! Well, now that we have our working POS system, we still have to proof the nearly seven hundred listings to correct any mistakes in the transfer of data and put in pricing where it was left out. We also have a weekly task of selecting the theme of the Friday wine tasting, the complementary food, and then getting the whole thing in place on Friday. It is a lot of work and yes, some of the tasks will remain as part of our weekly list of tasks, but eventually it will become easier as it becomes part of our routine.
Glitches aside, I have been pleasantly surprised with the response of the neighborhood surrounding our store. We have made sales every day we have been open and better than half of those have been to new customers. We have even had new repeat customers. All of this in just three weeks! Are we making money yet? Certainly not, but we do have decent cash flow for a brand-new business. Under the circumstances (economy and new business), we are doing better than anyone would have expected.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have patronized our new venture and encourage those who love interesting wines to come and check us out.
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