FIXMYMIX: Wine Store Seeks Mix Fixing

Chatham, N.J., is no place to be out of work. The wealthy community has long served as a commuter suburb for Manhattan, one that gives many of Gotham’s financial wizards a place to hang their hats.

So when downsizing hit information technology worker Paranjay “P.J.” Joshi in the wallet a few years ago, he knew he had to turn things around, and quick, or leave town. A longtime fan of the grape, he took what might have caused others to start drinking and used it as an opportunity to sell drinks, instead.

Now P.J., a real newcomer to the package store business, is finishing his second year as the owner of Chatham Wine and Liquors, and he couldn’t be happier. With a 1,200 foot store that specializes in fine wines, P.J. is the kind of gregarious communicator who will remember the last bottle you bought and greet you by name – even when he’s being interviewed for “Fix my Mix.”

But for P.J., who has used fine wines as the key point of differentiation from two stores who are competing with him nearby, the learning curve has been a steep one. While he’s quickly figured out how to leverage his I.T. background into an original web site to show off his selection – and allow it to be shipped to customers outside of Chatham – he hasn’t figured out how to do one of the most basic beverage store chores of them all, which is sell beer to his wealthy shoppers.

In other words, he might be able to maintain, winehunter.com (his site), but he’s having trouble playing “Beer Hunter.”

“Being a small store, with so many products out there, I’m having a problem dealing with all the microbreweries,” he said. “German beer, Mexican beer, local beer, I just don’t know what to do.”

With almost 70 percent – 6.5 of his nine doors – of his cooler space devoted to beer, that could be a big problem for P.J. He knows that his upscale wine consumers might want to drink equally tasty beer, but he’s not sure how to stock those 6.5 doors to take advantage of the opportunity.

“People try to sell me stuff all the time,” he said. “I’m trying to get an opinion whether I’m doing something wrong.”

Fortunately, he knew exactly who to turn to for such an important opinion. Fix My Mix.

Are your shelf sets giving you headaches? Are you having trouble deciding to stock your cooler with Red Bull or Rolling Rock, Honest Tea or Tequiza, Snapple or Sprite? Just drop us a line and you could have the next store featured in Fix My Mix! Just call 617.715.9678 or email jklineman@bevnet.com and explain what part of your mix could use some fixin’!

We’ll come take photos of your store, look at the demographics, and talk about your goals. Then, Beverage Spectrum’s hand-picked industry experts will go to work, offering you and your store the best kind of makeover there is: a free one!