In this 10 part series, we are going to pull back the curtain and take you behind the scenes as we started our wine and liquor store.  We recommend starting at the beginning.  Some of this information will be specific to our store and New York State, but we will try to keep most of the information general to apply to a variety of brick and mortar stores.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and we will do our best to answer.

>> Introduction – 10 Part Series: How to Start Your Own Business
>> Part 1 – Find Your Desire: Why Do You Want to Open a Store? 
>> Part 2 – Research the Market: Will it Support Your Product or Service? 
>> Part 3 – Finding the Ideal Location 
>> Part 4 – Get Required Licenses 
>> Part 5 – Prepare the Location 
>> Part 6 – Waiting for Licenses 
>> Part 7 – Getting Approved 
>>>> Part 8 – Final Preparations  (You Are Here)
>> Part 9 – Grand Opening
>> Part 10 – 1 Year Review: A Look Back

This was it.  We had just gotten final approval on our liquor license and had ~5 weeks to pull it all together for our grand opening.

Ordering Equipment

While we were waiting for the license to get approved, we complete most of our research but did not place any orders in case our license was denied.  Now that it was approved, we had to order the following:

  • Store Sign – We used a local company called Sign Language.  Although the sign was more expensive than we initially budgeted, they did a fantastic job and it came out beautifully.  They put the concept together (which became our logo), created the sign and installed it.
    wws-new-sign
  • Ordering Shelving – We decided on two different types of shelving.  For the outside of the store (which would primarily hold the liquor), we went with black metal gondola shelving.  We shopped around and ended up ordering from Handy Store Fixtures.  For the wine shelving, we really wanted nice shelving that not only held a lot of bottles, but also provided them a nice presentation.  After a lot of searching we ended up purchasing wood wine racks from Wine Racks of America.
  • Ordering Wine Cooler – As discussed in previous posts, we spent quite a bit of time trying to maximize the storage space within the store.  Part of it also included fitting in a cooler to chill some of the wines.  We ended up purchasing our cooler from Rosehill Wine Cellars.  It fits within out space and compliments the overall look of the store.
  • Ordering Point of Sale (POS) Equipment – I had previously set my father up with a point of sale system to track his inventory and sales.  As a result, we wanted to get the same system, which was called Cash Register Express.  Although I probably could’ve pieced the system together for cheaper had a more powerful computer, we did not need it and we did not have the extra time.  It came with a computer (loaded with the software), a touch screen monitor, bottle scanner, receipt printer and credit card reader.
    cash-register-express

Ordering Inventory

We had to wait until we had our license in order to stock the store.  We took top sellers from my father’s store and determined how we should spend our initial funds for inventory.  Our products were sold by a few different distributors, so we contacted them to place our orders as well as determine their delivery schedules.  Since each distributor delivered in a different day and time, it was important to get this schedule down so that we could place orders and accept delivery on time.

Setup/Organization

After some shipping issues with the shelving, we finally had it delivered to the store with about a week left until we opened.  What made this even more difficult was that we did not get our first shipment of inventory until about the same time.  So Ariana and I (along with helps from our parents) spent several long days of building shelves, unboxing wine/liquor and stocking shelves, scanning each bottle into the system and creating price labels and a whole bunch of other last-minute punch list items.

We initially stacked all of the boxes in the middle so that we could install the shelves on the outside walls.

wws-first-shipment

When then installed and configured the cooler.

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Once we were able to clear the boxes from the middle of the floor, we then freed up some space to build the three center wine racks.

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wws-first-organizing

Not sure if anyone noticed or not, but there were a few days where we could not find a babysitter, so Elena came down with us and helped get everything setup.

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At the end of several days we were able to have all of the shelves built and the initial inventory put away.  The store looked a lot less full by the time we were done.  Good thing we had another major shipment coming in the next day.

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By the time we left the store the night before our grand opening (I think we left around 11 pm), the store was looking pretty good.

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Over a year of work has finally paid off.  We had the store ready and in our next post we will walk through our grand opening.

Coming Up Next:  Part 9 – Grand Opening