Wine World to showcase over 500 Washington winesOctober 14, 2010 @ 7:49 am (Updated: 1:37 pm - 3/28/11 )
Washington is home to about 750 wineries, and there are more grapes being crushed in this state than you can possibly imagine. But Washington hasn't had a giant store that features them, until now.
Wine lovers rejoice. A super store is coming to Wallingford.
Wine World opens Dec. 1 off the 45th Street I-5 off-ramp in the old Office Max store.
"For years I lusted over this space," says owner Daniel LeClaire. "For years I kept thinking 'they'll never go out of business, I'll never get my space.'"
Then one day LeClaire went for office supplies and the store was closed. Now, Wine World is about to open, $1.4 million investment dollars later.
"We need to sell a lot of wine to make this happen," says LeClaire. "We're talking $100,000 a month to break even, so it's a big nut. We have to have the confidence that we can sell 70 to 100 cases of wine a day."
A third of LeClaire's store will focus on Northwest wineries with a heavy emphasis on Washington. "We'll probably have over 500 wines from Washington," he says. That's about 1,500 to 2,000 different bottles just from Washington.
LeClaire says Wine World will also have an event space. "We'll have huge tasting bars in the middle of the store. We'll sell cheese, chocolate and flowers." There will be humidor and a beer section too.
"We'll have people pouring wine almost every night for free," says LeClaire. "You can come in and take a taste of wine and wander around." He plans to have four or five wineries offering tastings every day.
If either of the state initiatives on liquor sales passes, LeClaire will add a high-end liquor section.
The rest of the store will have aisles dedicated to the best wine regions in the world. In total, there is 23,000 square feet of space.
LeClaire doesn't want his store to do what places like Home Depot or Lowes did to the mom and pop hardware stores. He knows the owners of most of the small wine shops in Seattle, and he believes they can coexist. His goal is to be a destination shop that serves the entire region.
Don't worry if you're not a connoisseur, LeClaire promises Wine World will not be full of wine snobs who look down at people who don't know a cabernet from a merlot. He's even going to sell wine in a box.
Follow Chris on Twitter @newsguysully.
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