Weekly Business Profile
Victor's Grape Arbor
Type of business:
Beer & Winemaking Supply Shop
2436 San Mateo Pl. NE
Albuquerque NM 87110
Number of Employees:
How did you get started in this business?
My dad bought the business because homebrewing was his passion. I grew up as his homebrew helper. When I was 12 he walked me through making my first batch of wine from our backyard grapes. Since then I have brewed beer, wine, sake … you name it. When he passed away in 2010, there seemed to be no question about stepping into his shoes and keeping the business running.
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
The loyalty we engender from our customers, and the history we have with the Albuquerque brewing community. Since 1974 we have been a resource for all homebrewing needs.
What are your strongest business traits?
We provide knowledge and motivational support to those interested in the hobby of fermentation. We want our customers to succeed and enjoy the hobby at any level, whether they choose to remain beginners or become the most scientifically advanced brewer or winemaker around.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
We genuinely love this hobby. If we can help people make their products better we are happy. We are constantly inspired by the possibilities this hobby has to offer, and we want to share that enthusiasm.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We are constantly growing and rotating our inventory. For example, we currently carry a line of Hop Art merchandise, including trucker hats and insulated beer bags.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
In the past year, we’ve conducted a whole lot of classes and demonstrations. It’s been a tremendous amount fun. Every month we host a demo, class or presentation—there’s something for every level of interest.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
We offer an extensive winemaking knowledge base. With our seasonal classes and demos, participants are able to crush fresh fruit, take home fermentable must and rent out larger equipment. We also host an annual distillation lecture in the spring.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
We keep our prices low and make customer satisfaction a priority. We listen to our customers to find out what they need and look for new products to fill those needs.
What was your best business decision?
Remodeling the store and offering classes.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
My staff and I volunteer our time to the local homebrew club, Dukes of Ale, and take an active role in organizing and running local competitions and events. The largest events we take part in are the State Fair Beer and Wine competitions, which we help organize and judge.
How has the Internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
The internet gives us a good benchmark for competitive pricing and selection. We’re in a rapidly evolving industry: There are constantly new ingredients to work with, as well as new techniques and trends. The wealth of information available on the internet helps keep us and our customers excited, inspired and current.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Customer service. We provide excellent customer service. I want our customers to happy and confident in the pursuit of their hobby.
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Holly Durante • indie, singer-