One year later: JJ’s details new store’s success, revamped VIP program

Aug. 8, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars.

One year after moving into its new home on West 57th Street, everything about JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars has gotten bigger.

There’s the store itself, which now offers a significantly larger inventory of beer, wine and spirits, along with The Boozy Bakery treats and other food items in The 3.0 Cocktail Bar.

There’s the crowd, which now regularly gathers in The 3.0 Cocktail Bar for happy hour and regular live music, in addition to shopping the store.

And there are the events, which have taken off so much that it’s hard for the JJ’s event manager to think of any type of gathering that hasn’t been hosted.

“It’s been a lot of work, a lot of fun and hopefully a great addition for our customers, old and new,” owner Tom Slattery said.

“We’re lucky to have an incredibly professional team behind us, and we’re really excited about taking what we’ve learned and making year two in our new space even better, with even more great things on the horizon.”

New VIP program

JJ’s recently rolled out a new VIP Rewards program – affectionately referred to as JJ’s VIP Discounts & Rewards 2.0 – after having to suspend it temporarily when concerns were brought to state regulators regarding rules against “inducement of alcohol sales.”

“We’re giving our customers back what they had become accustomed to, which was rewards for their patronage and quantity discounts,” Slattery said. “We’re offering everything we can while working within the guidelines.”

Here’s what members receive:

  • An automatic 20 percent off “List Price” discount for every single bottle of regularly priced adult beverages. Price tags are marked with a VIP price, so the math is done for you.
  • A new bonus 5 percent discount when you purchase six items, and a bonus discount of 10 percent when you purchase 24 single bottle items (regular-priced adult beverages, no additional discounts on items that are on sale). Think of the 5 percent discount bonus as a “case discount” on a six-bottle case, and the 10 percent discount bonus as a stock-up discount.
  • A 10 percent discount on all nonalcohol items such mixers, pop, water, olives, etc. That does not include items from The Boozy Bakery.
  • A 10 percent discount on all Riedel glassware products, wine accessories and cigar accessories
  • A 10 percent discount on six or more cigars and a 20 percent discount on 20 or more cigars. (No discounts on cigarettes.)

Joining the VIP program is free. Just sign up at JJ’s.

“We still have new customers coming in every day even though we’ve now been here more than a year, so that’s impressive,” store operations manager Zac Johnson said.

“And we still have people signing up for the VIP Discounts & Rewards program and discovering the attached Cocktail Bar.”

Whiskey has especially picked up in popularity, he added.

“We’ve done a good job establishing a base of customers who know we appreciate quality product and especially like our single-barrels selections, which are a cool way to put a touch on that industry. It’s fun for me because I really like the education side, and there’s a lot of science that goes into making whiskey.”

Cocktail crowd

The 3.0 Cocktail Bar at JJ’s is an ideal place for customers to try out a huge variety of beverages. In its first year, JJ’s has experimented with different hours, offerings and attractions, and has found some customer favorites.

“We have a great happy hour, and it’s a fun atmosphere,” bar manager and bartender Jonathan Lagge said. “It’s kind of a neighborhood hangout, a place to go after work, and Tom lets us do our thing and run with our ideas.”

The cocktail bar is open at noon daily and closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

“But our closing time will vary with the crowd, so if we’ve got people in here, we usually can adjust,” Lagge said. “Our live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday continues to be popular, as is our patio. We’re looking forward to fall outdoors with our fireplace going. And we’ll always be continuing to try new things and evolve our menu.”

Event records

It has been a record-setting year for events at JJ’s.

The indoor event room can hold anywhere from 10 to 100 people, and the outdoor tent space can accommodate 100 to 350. The 3.0 Cocktail Bar also can accommodate limited events Sunday through Tuesday.

“It’s changed a lot,” said Michael Callis, director of marketing and event strategies.

“Two years ago, we had no events in-house, as we did not have a house. Last July, we had 27. This July, we finished ahead of that. But we’re really happy with how it’s gone. We’ve been able to manage the crowd, and people seem to really like the variety we offer.”

And speaking of variety – that’s exactly what JJ’s has attracted. Between events in-house and JJ’s off-site, all-inclusive beverage service, the customer base is incredibly diverse.

“There really isn’t anything we haven’t done,” Callis said. “We’ve done holiday parties, birthday parties, retirement parties, employee-appreciation parties. We did the Sanford International Draw Party last year, and we will again this year. We’ve done countless ribbon-cuttings, bridal showers, a full-on wedding in the event room, high school reunions and even an event outside for dogs.”

JJ’s also will help support the Sioux Falls Airshow in August, staffing bars in VIP chalets, serving a couple thousand people each day.

And then there’s Levitt at the Falls, where JJ’s ran the beverage service this season and likely will be back next year as the venue hosts 50 free concerts.

“We’ve been so busy with our event services, and we really haven’t marketed them much,” Callis said. “But it’s been fun, and we’re always thinking of new ideas and how we can further advance our beverage-service scope.”

Want to book an event? Email michael@jjswine.com.

Growing team

The increased activity at the store and for events has meant more hiring at JJ’s too. There are about 20 permanent staff and 85 seasonal employees.

“It’s gotten a lot busier behind the scenes,” said Jennifer Miller, HR director. “But the people we work with make it a lot of fun. And we’re always learning new things. It’s more than just selling beverages. You learn a little history, what the products can be used for, and you can accumulate a lot of knowledge.”

While JJ’s is fortunate to enjoy many longtime employees, there’s always room for new part-time employees willing to work flexible hours, she said.

“We find that people who are able to have fun are a good fit here,” she said. “We like people who have a good, fun personality and like to learn.”

Stop in the store to learn more, or visit jjswine.com.

One year later: JJ’s details new store’s success, revamped VIP program

One year after moving into its new home on West 57th Street, everything about JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars has gotten bigger.

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