What's happening in Herefordshire?

Hay Wines shopfront, shelving, Jane van Rossum

In the latest of our regular profiles on our Independent customers, we caught up with Jane van Rossum, owner of Hay Wines.

It's quite different to Hedonism and The Barber’s Parlour & Fine Wines, but that’s what makes our industry so fascinating. In the centre of the quaint market town of Ledbury, Jane leads a tight-knit team of three, committed to bringing delicious wine and spirits to locals. Founded in 2009 as a small wholesale business, the business now encompasses retail as well. The decline of Threshers in the town meant Jane didn’t have to worry about converting an unsuitable space into a shop. This has saved the team a fair amount of headaches as she says “storage is no problem as we have a store room out the back,” although with the expansion of the retail side of the business, she has had to extend the shelving units.

A view of the shelving and the shopfloorKeeping it local

Local products take pride of place at Hay Wines. Not just for the novelty, according to Jane: “the quality is there.” Being able to class Chase distillery as local is a distinct advantage, and they also stock a range of beers and wine from the local area including a few Welsh whiskies. Their whisky selection is very impressive given the overall size of the store. It helps that Jane has “two staff members that are really into their whisky” and with a range that comprises some eighty single malts. No wonder that a large part of Hay Wines’ reputation is “built on whisky.” The range of whisky is unique in the local three county area, ensuring customers always have a reason to visit.

Building a solid reputation

Jane and her team have worked hard to build and maintain their reputation as a reliable Independent Merchant amongst their customers. Whether through regular tutored tastings that are “attended by a good base of customers and sell out months in advance” to targeting customers with emails, excellent customer service is always at the top of the agenda at Hay Wines. Delivering the best service to customers is something that drove the creation of their new website. Despite some early hiccups involving her ideas going “against what the agency had in their templates”, Jane managed to get most of the functionality she wanted. While the website isn’t fully transactional just yet, Jane makes sure to use her extensive email database to maintain customer interest. She believes “it’s very successful at driving interest in our tasting events.” If they normally sell out months in advance then it’s clearly something that works.

What the future holds

So what next for Hay Wines? Jane says that maintaining the high level of customer service is one point that is high on the priority list, as well as ensuring the website is a success. Since last year, retail sales have increased by 22% and the wholesale side has grown 13%, Jane reckons there’s still room for growth in the wholesale side. With her passionate team and unique range, there’s no reason why they can’t.



Have you got a store or a team worth shouting about? Speak to your account manager if you’d like to be featured in our next customer profile.

28th August 2014

Company No. 2550982 | 109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR | Call: 0845 263 6924 | AWRS Number: XVAW00000101595

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