LANSING – When Voyages Wine Shop opens later this month in the east end of the city, it will offer around 400 different wines, including many from small producers around the world, craft beers and an assortment of groceries .
The concept behind “Greater Lansing’s first wine and beer delivery shop” — a wine and beer store that delivers home orders — was born during the pandemic, owner Justin King said.
“I remember that feeling at the start of the pandemic, a lot of things are changing now,” he said.
King, 42, and an advanced sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers who has worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years, has watched massive queues form in the drive-thru lanes of fast-food restaurants and the popularity of online delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats has surged.
King resigned from Bottleneck Hospitality, the company that owns Bridge Street Social in DeWitt, in 2020 because he wanted to make the jump to wine retail.
His new wine store will be positioned for the future, King said: capable of accommodating customers buying on the spot and those buying from their smartphones or laptops.
“It’s really exciting to be able to compete with the big guys, like Uber Eats and Gopuff, and have really fun, high-quality wine products and be able to show it to a local audience,” King said.
Small production wines, craft beer
The store will occupy 1,500 square feet at 2024 E. Michigan Ave., which previously housed Wild Strawberry & More, a flower shop.
The space inside the century-old building has been vacant since last year. King has spent the last few months getting it ready for inventory and customers. The walls received a fresh coat of paint and new flooring was laid.
King is awaiting approval for his liquor retail license to stock shelves with wine, beer and groceries. He hopes to open at the end of June.
The wines he will offer will vary and the selection will expand. King hopes to eventually offer up to 1,500 different wines, but expect to see a number of small-production wines from different regions he has visited.
Among them, Ameztoi, a winery in Spain, and GD Vajra, in Piedmont, Italy.
Small production wineries don’t have big marketing budgets, but they do offer unique products, he said. His store will largely sell bottles for $30 or less.
“‘I’ve really tried to find, collectively, food and wine regions that excel in both and really showcase them,'” King said. by the way, the owner of this winery actually pulled these grapes from the vine or made this wine himself.”
In addition to beers and wines, the shop will offer bread, meats, cheeses and other groceries, including necessities like toilet paper and diapers.
Customer orders and demand will help him determine what to stock, King said.
Online shopping, home delivery
Voyages Wine Shop’s inventory will be available to shop in person or online, through its website at travelwine.com.
King intends to start with six employees and will deliver same-day orders beginning with the zip codes closest to the store and expanding outwards over time.
“The first initial phase of delivery will begin relatively as soon as we open,” King said. “We plan to deliver to all zip codes in Lansing. We will also deliver to East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett and DeWitt.”
Within the first month of opening, King hopes to add delivery to other communities, including Mason, Williamston and Holt.
“People have asked me, ‘Can you deliver to Birmingham? Can you deliver to Ann Arbor?'” King said. “I don’t know yet. It’s exciting to think that people are so interested in having good wine delivered to their doorstep. It’s an exciting issue to have.”
King said he also plans to offer wine country travel packages primarily in Europe to small groups of customers, starting with Greece and Spain in the summer of 2023.
Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.