Retailer aims to roll out "wine ambulance" across the off-trade

14 June, 2013

An independent retailer is hoping to attract interest from other outlets to buy into his drinks delivery concept called Winebulance which it claims has grown sales by 25% in less than six months.

Andy Short took over The Selsey Off Licence in Sussex at the beginning of the year and added a phone delivery service on drinks using the distinctive Winebulance branded van which features the slogan: "Stay calm! Wine is here!"
Delivery sales now account for 20% of the business and he believes this will reach 50% due to the branding and mix of products and promotions.
He hopes to make the Winebulance a national concept by giving other independents use of the trademarked logo and artwork to brand their own vans.
Under the plan, retailers would pay a one-off start up charge of £1,500, £500 to have stickers placed on their vans and an annual licence fee of £450. Independents would also be given access to some of the case deals Short has negotiated with suppliers.
This summer he is also introducing a similar service using a moped branded the Rapid Response Unit.
He said: "You see vans like Kebabulance driving around villages late at night and we wanted to do something different. 
"At first it was just a bit of fun, then we put it on Facebook and it went ballistic. Straightaway we had calls from Australia, South Africa and other countries asking if they could franchise it.
"But it's not a franchise business. It's a bit like Interflora where florists use it to offer delivery. The business' turnover has increased by 25% and margins are also up. A lot of that is down to the Winebulance, but also to the case deals we run. I want to work with merchants so they could get access to some of the case deals we have access to."
Short said he had received positive feedback from "all sectors of the community" including the police and emphasised that deliveries were currently only offered during the shop's opening hours rather than delivering "two bottles of vodka at 4am" or running a 24 hour service, unlike similar businesses.
He added: "We are a very credible business and police respond to that, so I would only want responsible licensees with the same attitude to take it on. I attend Pubwatch meetings with the local licensing police and they have been very positive about what we've done."

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