StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays n n November/December 2015 18 BEST PRACTICES AWARDS Virginia ABC distributed news releases, participated in news conferences and pitched stories to targeted media to encourage coverage of the campaign. The agency provided licensees with promotional ma- terials to educate the community, such as "Do Not Sell" stickers, "We Don't Sell to Underage" and "We Don't Sell to Intoxicated Patrons" posters, Fake ID Facts and other prevention collateral. "The outreach to restaurants allowed us to enhance the communications flow to remind managers, bartenders and wait staff that Virginia ABC is available to assist with any needs they might have," Cannon says. Virginia ABC special agents conducted additional li- censee training programs for 70 participants and distribut- ed thousands of postcards and flyers to on-premise ABC- licensed establishments announcing additional training dates, as well as tips to reduce over-service and underage consumption of alcoholic beverages. The enforcement initiative resulted in more than 140 licensed establishment visits, 14 written warnings and 12 arrests. More impor- tantly, prevention messaging and media campaigns had a positive impact on licensees, resulting in a lower number of violations. "This campaign also allowed Virginia ABC's Bu- reau of Law Enforcement to utilize innovative edu- cational and community partnerships," Cannon says. "We had the opportunity to work with agen- cies including Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles, the Virginia Beach Police Depart- ment, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Virginia State Police. Together we created a community front against drunk driving." Virginia ABC is developing plans to expand this important and successful enforcement concept throughout the Commonwealth. The multi-pronged approach—education, enforcement, communications—and the strong partnerships with licensee com- munities and law enforcement agencies can work well in localities across the state to en- hance Virginia ABCs public safety efforts. INNOVATIVE RETAIL EFFORTS Ask yourself what attracts you to your favorite retail store? Is it the choice of products? The level of customer service? The functionality of the space? Eighty-one years after its first store opened, Virginia ABC has modified the shopping experience to better serve customers, creating the Premier Store concept. According to Elizabeth Chatham, certified property manager and Virginia ABC real property agent, Virginia ABC sought to create spaces in which customers can easily navigate for that pre-planned purchase, yet provide a more intimate and interesting environment to browse and learn more about their products. "Special focus was placed on tasting areas to bring the community together and create a fun venue to taste and educate customers about how spirits can make occasions special," Chatham says. "We initiated the retail store project prior to the creation of our marketing division, so we are excited about the ways in which our customer experience can be enhanced even more with the incorpo- ration of unique merchandising and branding tailored to our model." Since the project's completion, the 12-month same- store sales demonstrate an average 14 percent increase for the first two Premier stores—Williamsburg and Leesburg. Sales growth is a result of increased customer transactions, but also reflects increases in the average bottle price of $0.24 and $1.18, respectively, for the first two stores. To understand customer reaction to the premier store designs, Virginia ABC distributed mail-in post card sur- veys in each of the premier stores, seeking opinions from customers about the new store design. More than 94 per- cent of premier store customers indicated that they en- joyed their overall shopping experience more in the new store as compared to the previous store design. "Even with the significant change to the store layout,

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