Total Wine & More opened its first Michigan store in Grand Rapids earlier this month.
The 34,000-square-foot store, at 4923 28th St. SE, features more than 8,000 wines, 3,500 beers and 3,000 spirits. Customers also can find a variety of soft drinks, bottled water, mixers glassware and cigars.
The Grand Rapids store will employ upward of 50 local team members, who will be given more than 100 hours of training on beer, wine and spirits before they hit the main floor.
“We want our customers to be taken care of by educated folks,” said Edward Cooper, vice president of public affairs and community relations. “Understanding varietals of wine and the different types of beer and spirits is important to us.”
By company policy, each Total Wine store staffs 75% full-time positions and offers competitive wages and full benefits, including 401(k), paid-time off, health and dental insurance, and assistance for secondary education.
“We want to be seen as the employer of choice in the beverage world,” Cooper said. “We want people to feel like they can have a career with us. We’re particularly interested in investing in and growing our team members.”
True to its name, Total Wine & More is primarily a fine wine brand, focused on selection, service and customer experience. In addition to ensuring customers are assisted by highly educated employees, each store offers Wi-Fi, enabling customers and employees to quickly locate the particular product they are looking for.
Other store features include a brewery district with local and regional craft beers, tasting stations at various points throughout the store and a high-tech classroom with seating and technological capabilities for continuous team member training, consumer classes and free meeting space for community, civic, business and nonprofit groups.
“In less difficult times, we had a whole array of classes on wine and beer and spirits,” Cooper said. “During the pandemic, we have in some instances cut that out or dialed it back a little bit, and we’re evaluating at all our stores going forward about bringing back those kinds of classes. We’re optimistic as we come out of the pandemic about offering those classes again.”
For the grand opening celebration last weekend, Total Wine & More partnered with Feeding America West Michigan — the first of many charitable nonprofit partners the company said it will work with throughout greater Grand Rapids over the coming years — and provided the nonprofit with a check for $10,000.
Total Wine & More as a company made in-kind and cash charitable contributions of more than $10 million in 2020 to 9,000 nonprofits in all the communities where stores are located.
By the end of 2021, Total Wine & More plans to open three more Michigan stores in Ann Arbor, Novi and Sterling Heights.
“We always knew we wanted to come to Grand Rapids,” Cooper said. “Because we’re in multiple states, we know there are residents here who have shopped our stores in other places and said they would like a store where they live.”
Total Wine & More was founded in 1991 in Claymont, Delaware, by brothers David and Robert Trone. The company has since grown to 217 stores in 26 states. The original store opened by the Trone brothers 30 years ago is still in business today.