The latest issue of Drinks Trade magazine gets a little advice on retail, business, and liquor from the head of Porter’s Liquor, Giuseppe Minissale.
The secret to a successful liquor store is?
In my opinion the secret to a successful liquor store is a manager/owner who really watches his numbers. Somebody who buys well and who goes after a niche market; one who identifies a market they can own and becomes a niche player in that market, whether it be bourbon, cognac, red wine, white wine, champagne. They have to be known for something.
What’s the best business advice you have ever been given?
There is a guy by the name of Grant Knowles who said, ‘make sure the impression of your shop suits your clientele and suits the niche you are going for’. The first time we did this was in Perth in Annandale and we wanted to be the cheapest export store on the south side of the river and it worked and we learnt from that.
How do you keep a customer loyal?
You have to give the customer what they want. It is really that simple. The customer doesn’t want what you, the retailer, want; they want what they want.
Who’s leadership skills do you admire and why?
There have been plenty of leaders come and go in my life but Mal Higgs has been the one who that has been there over the longest and most constant period of time. His skill in listening and his skill in getting people to do what he wants is impressive.
What do you love about the industry?
Everything. I think it’s a cracking industry. It satisfies our lifestyle and deals with what everybody wants. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to do well in it.
The next big thing in liquor retail?
Duty-free or cellar-style liquor stores. It will be about giving consumers an experience.
What are you drinking at the moment?
Chardonnay. I can’t get past it at the moment. I think Australian Chardonnay is fantastic.
What are you recommending your customers should drink at the moment?
What they want, and making sure they get the best in their tipple of choice.