Have you ever thought about buying a business? Do you have a strategic way of problem solving that can improve and enhance just about any type of business? Then you may be a lot like Tim Delaney; owner at Elma Wine and Liquor.
In this interview, you can learn
- tips on how to buy a business
- how to build the customer base of a brick and mortar retail store / local business / small business
- learn an effective marketing channel for a local business
- tips for someone interested in buying or growing their own local business
First thing’s first, what’s your name and where are you from?
Tim Delaney. Born and raised in the Buffalo area.
What’s the name of your local business and where is it located?
Elma Wine & Liquor which is located at 2350 Bowen Road in Elma, NY.
What inspired you to start your local business and actually take action and execute on your idea?
The store has actually been around since the 1960’s, I just purchased it in 2013. I had been looking for a solid business to purchase and grow for awhile and when this opportunity arose I recognized that it had a solid base to build from and potential to be more than it was.
What does your local business do and what makes it unique?
We sell wine and spirits to retail customers. What makes us stand out is commitment to customer service – we treat customers like we would treat our closest friends or family members and are always willing to get the products that they want.
How did you get your first customer?
Unlocked the door and turned on the ‘open’ sign. It’s much easier to get your first (and 100th) customer when you purchase an existing business.
How did you use that experience to build and grow a customer base?
I watched what people were buying, built solid relationships with my vendors, and listened to customer requests to build an inventory selection that attempts to satisfy the needs of our loyal customers while attracting new people on a regular basis.
How do you attract business outside of your local area? What brings people from other areas into your local business?
We are pretty focused on serving the needs of our local vicinity. The industry standards suggest that liquor and wine stores generally draw from about a five mile radius or are on a person’s regular commute route. That said, we do occasionally run unique offers or sales that big box stores do not offer which draws a handful of customers. I also leverage my personal networks and offer delivery services throughout the area.
What have been your most effective local business marketing channels?
What was the most challenging aspect of starting your local business and how did you over come it?
It was actually a pretty big challenge to find the right business to purchase that fit my budget but also was able to provide a good return in a reasonable amount of time. I overcame that challenge by staying persistent, connecting with as many businessmen, accountants, and lawyers that I could as these are the people that often know about business owners looking to sell.
Serving customers. I’m in the entertainment business in a way – wine and spirits are associated with all aspects of life and in our society often play an integral role in celebrations. It is rewarding (and sometimes a bit daunting) to know that your advice and selection can help make an event even more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. At the same time, it is fun to get to know customers and their preferences and help them find and explore new wines or spirits that I think they will enjoy.
What advice would you give to a local business owner who hasn’t yet built up a substantial customer base?
Persistence. There is no such thing as overnight success. And by persistence I don’t mean calling prospective clients everyday asking for the sale. I mean being patient, doing work that makes you proud, and giving people value even before they are your client.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Elma, Wine, and Liquor, check out the links below: