New NSLC Concept Store
Our newest store – the Port by the NSLC – opened on April 22nd at the corner of Birmingham and Clyde Streets in downtown Halifax, and the response from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. “It has been a very busy first few weeks,” says Store Manager Rick Martell. “We’re getting great feedback on the selection, service and the décor. Lots of people are asking about the Experience Room and are eager to participate in product learning opportunities. And we’re getting lots of compliments on the great selection of local wine, spirits and craft beer.”
The Port replaces the old Port of Wines store on Doyle Street. It’s much bigger, at more than 8000 square feet, and customers can park in the underground parking area and take the elevator right up to the store’s entrance. The store is bright, with lots of large windows along the south side, and offers a contemporary design that includes new shelving and lighting, with exposed concrete columns and ductwork.
What makes shopping at the Port really special are the people who work there. “All of our employees have acquired advanced training and knowledge about the products we sell,” explains Rick. “Dave Spieroway is the NSLC’s very first Customer Experience Manager, and it’s his job to make shopping here an excellent experience, every time you visit. We also have two Product Specialists: Gabriela Cyr and Rayell Swan are bother WSET certified, and they can help our customers find exactly the right product no matter the occasion.”
The Port also offers NSLC’s very first self-serve sampling station, with capacity for up to 32 different product selections. Customers can buy a reloadable card that allows them to sample while they shop. “It’s a chance to try before you buy, or to try a premium product or maybe a different grape variety or country of origin,” says Rick. The store also features an Experience Room, where the NSLC and its suppliers will offer tastings and product information sessions. Check out the ‘Events’ tab for more information on those.
The Port’s ‘Rare Finds’ room is the first of its kind for NSLC too. It’s a temperature-controlled room – much like a wine cellar – that keeps products in peak condition. Here customers will find wines that aren’t available anywhere else in Atlantic Canada, ranging in price from about $100 to $5000.
Just around the corner from the Rare Finds Room is the Port’s spirit selection, which at 450 varieties is the largest of any store in the network. From there and along the back wall of the store customers will find a wide selection of local wines, spirits, craft beer and ciders. “One in every ten bottles of wine that we sell is a local product,” says Rick. “We have some excellent local products in all categories, and we’re planning on doing lots of product information sessions and tastings with our local producers in the months to come.”
Given sales so far have exceeded expectations, it’s a safe to say customers are liking the new store. “We’re thrilled with the response,” says Rick. “Our challenge going forward will be to keep delivering that ‘wow’ factor, so that customers find something new to discover every time they come in the store.”