After nearly 14 years in business, what could possibly be new at Carpe Vino? As it turns out, plenty. . .
For most mature businesses, growth is typically incremental, and in some respects, that was our experience at Carpe Vino in 2015. Sales levels increased nicely on all fronts, though the percentages were more modest this year (because of the higher total number we’ve achieved!).
What has always driven our business, however, has been change: creating new programs and adding new space. Here are highlights from this year:
Purchased 165 Court Street: We’ve been renting this two-story Victorian behind Carpe Vino for several years, and because it has become so fundamental to our business, we felt it was essential to protect our interests by attempting to purchase it. Our landlord was willing, so we put a deal together and closed in October.
In the months ahead, you’ll be hearing more about our plans for this structure that already houses our offices, Century Wine Club and serves as a warehouse. It has been beautifully renovated, but we’re building out a sizeable portion of the first floor for an events center exclusively for Wine Club members. Watch this space for details!
Ramped Up Giving: Carpe Vino has always been supportive of philanthropic initiatives in our community. . .from the Big Day of Giving to supporting fund raisers with everything from gift cards to dinner packages, we invested more than $20,000 in programs this year. On top of this, we made a $5,000 contribution earmarked for food-based and homeless programs in the name of our Wine Club to the Placer Community Foundation.
Installed New Façade Signage: In the wake of rebranding Carpe Vino with a new corporate logo, we finished the project with all-new signage for the front of the Lincoln Way building. This included replacing a fabric awning with a corrugated metal material that is similar to what was used at the turn of the 20th century.
Launched a GEM of a Shuttle Service: In March, we purchased a GEM “Neighborhood Electric Vehicle” that seats four and has a diamond-plated truck bed (as well as a neon light package). We put the GEM into service immediately as a shuttle on Friday and Saturday evenings (Rob is your driver). During the daytime, Spencer uses it to haul wine between the store and the warehouse.
Made a “Pilgrimage to Provence”: In October, we sponsored a 10-day wine, food and art tour of Provence in partnership with Earthbound Expeditions of Seattle. Twenty-four Wine Club members joined us on the trip. Stay tuned for an announcement about where we are headed in 2016!
More Shiner in the Pipeline: This year we had three releases of our proprietary brand, Shiner, including 150 cases of a Paso Robles cabernet sauvignon.
Amped Up the Bar Menu: We listened to our customers and dramatically expanded our casual bar menu with simple fare to enjoy with a glass of wine. We also added weekly bar specials. . .ranging from shrimp & grits to tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwich.
Chocoholics Rejoice: We introduced a line of chocolates from Raffiné Chocolatiers of Newcastle. . .in gift packages and bites for the wine bar.
The Ying & Yang of Personal Stuff: On the bright side, celebrated the marriage of our founding chefs, Eric Alexander and Courtney McDonald. But then in June we bid “adieu” to our beloved, long-time staffer, Beth White, who moved with her family to Boise, Idaho. We also weathered a serious health issue that is now in check.
Looking back, we have much to be thankful for. And we’re genuinely excited about what’s ahead in 2016. We wish you all the best!
All the best in 2016,
gary, Drew & the Carpe Vino Staff