The unique store was opened in a former 1950s garage in 2015, and boasts features such as real Mini Coopers embedded in the walls, paying homage to the building’s former motoring heritage.
Offering 300 varieties of wine and 120 different beers both in store and online, The Pip stop is now looking to expand its offering and open a second location in either Newcastle or Durham, offering a range of customer experiences such as tasting rooms, interactive cellars and events.
Owner Ben Cleary, a former manager at Majestic Wine, has worked in the wine industry since the age of 15, but says the lessons he learned in his first year in business at the store will be key to the future success of the company.
He said: “In the first year our plan was to try as much as possible and see what worked and what didn’t. There were certainly some surprises, for a start we never expected our beer sales to be so high but craft ales and beers have really taken off recently and while the majority of our online sales were for wine to start with, now around 70% are for beer.”
While the majority of The Pip Stop’s sales are currently made through its Maiden Law shop, the plan for the next year is to increase the business’ online presence in order to reach new customers across the UK.
Ben also plans to increase the variety of events offered by The Pip Stop, such as wine tastings and pop-up bars, and to tap into food and drink trends such as the current popularity of vegan wine and beers.
“One thing I’ve learnt over the last year is not to rush into anything – we’ve got the experience behind us and have a clear vision of what it is we want to achieve now and I believe it’s worth taking our time to find that,” added Ben.
“I want the next shop to be really interactive, possibly combining the wine and beer with a food offering to really give customers a rounded experience. This is something me and the team here are really passionate about and we’re very excited about what we can achieve in our second year of business.”
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