1776 Defender

Ankeny, IA

#1 Jun 14, 2013
National chain to open wine & beer supercenters in Twin Cities
A large, national chain is preparing to bring its big-box wine stores to the Twin Cities.

Total Wine & More, which bills itself as the nation's largest independent retailer of fine wine, is scouting the Twin Cities for real estate with plans to open "several" stores here, according to spokesman Ed Cooper. The Potomac, Md.-based company is aiming to open its first location by the end of the year.

"The Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area is clearly populated with folks who love and have an appreciation for fine wine, so we see that as a real opportunity," Cooper said. "And, in addition to that, there's really no other retailer out there who is similar to us. We're really a category unto our own."

These aren't your typical strip-mall liquor stores. Total Wine & More's wine supercenters span 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, often filling spaces vacated by retailers such as Circuit City and Borders.

The stores carry more than 8,000 wines from around the world, 3,000 distilled spirits and 2,500 beers. They also have climate-controlled wine cellars with rarer selections, as well as walk-in cigar humidors, interactive food-and-wine pairing kiosks, and wine-education centers that are used to host tastings, classes and events.

"We're not necessarily about convenience. We're a destination," Cooper said. "We understand that people need to make a trip to shop our stores, so we want to make sure they are blown away.… It's like a candy store for adults."

Total Wine also will aim to offer the lowest prices in town, he said.
1776 Defender

Ankeny, IA

#2 Jun 14, 2013
"We price against Costco," he said.

Company officials declined to comment on specific sites, but they're targeting the Twin Cities' top trade areas — or at least as close as they can get. Some cities, including Edina and Eden Prairie, run their own municipal liquor stores and prohibit private businesses from operating within their borders.

Chris Simmons, senior vice president of retail at Colliers International/Minneapolis-St. Paul, is representing Total Wine & More on its local site search.

Total Wine & More currently has more than 90 wine superstores in 15 states, predominantly on the coasts and in the South. Minnesota will be the company's market in the Upper Midwest. In fact, the nearest store is currently in Dallas, nearly 1,000 miles away.

The fast-growing retailer expects to top $1.5 billion in sales this year, up from $553 million just six years ago.


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