In conversation with Lisa Maier, Winestore GmbH


Miss Maier, you have been working in the family business since 2020 and support your father, the founder and Managing Director of Winestore GmbH. What are your plans for the future of your company?

We are working on the continuous optimization of our procedures and processes. We scrutinize our methods and examine the constantly changing requirements of our customers and the market. Which products do customers want now, and which next year? To know this, we always stay up to date and share our enthusiasm and passion for wine and spirits with our customers. Our aim is to give our target groups access to new products and trends and to support them with our expertise. For us, "fine drinking" means a great atmosphere with perfect service, and that is exactly what we want to offer our customers every day.

Many companies are currently suffering from an acute staff shortage. How are you meeting this challenge?

Like many other companies, we are also finding ways to tackle this challenge. We are fortunate to have built up a stable core team over the years that we can rely on. Our family business consists of 50 employees, personal contact is an everyday occurrence and so we can respond directly to individual needs. We are close to our employees' problems and can therefore react quickly and efficiently. This contributes to a good working atmosphere, which is another reason for our employees' long-term loyalty. We use various channels in our search for new employees: social media, newspaper adverts and flyers, as we believe that there are different ways to reach interesting and interested applicants. It is important to us that the person in question shares our values - we therefore have the confidence to wait for exactly the right person.

What role does the increasing digitalization of retail play in your company?

Digitalization plays a fundamental role - we have been combining online and offline for years. As we are active in both wholesale and retail, the combination of both areas is particularly important. We still receive orders by fax, but also from customers who order online from their couch in the evening and then come by the store the next day to collect their order. We adapt to the reality of our customers and try to have simple and quick solutions ready for everyone. Digitalization supports us in this - this development will definitely continue, also in the optimisation of internal processes.

To date, you have worked with Schweitzer in 2014 and 2022.
What do you value about this partnership?

In 2014, we opened the Winestore in Bolzano, Italy, in collaboration with Schweitzer. This is a wine shop with a broad and varied range of over 3,700 different wines and spirits and an elegant ambience.

The follow-up project, the Drinkstore in Brixen, Italy, which opened in 2022, followed a different store concept. Here, our customers can find a wide range of beer and soft drinks in returnable packaging, combined with over 1,500 different wines and spirits, in a casual, unusual ambience. After the success of the Winestore, we were convinced that the unusual store concept and the interior design were important key elements. Our customers should feel comfortable in an appealing ambience. This resulted in the second co-operation with Schweitzer.

The international experience of the planners and designers at Schweitzer and Interstore is palpable and is also appropriately and sensitively incorporated into in local projects. We greatly appreciated the honesty, reliability, and perfect realization of the concepts. Last but not least, the smooth communication with a single interlocutor was and is a great advantage, which makes efficient processes possible to begin with.

Have your expectations regarding sales figures been met?

Yes, we are very satisfied. The Drink Store in Brixen has now been in operation for 15 months and we are expecting further growth.

Schweitzer's sister company, the retail design agency Interstore, takes the creative lead in all projects in close consultation with our customers. Did you feel involved in the design process?

We felt very involved in the creative process. One of our favourite moments took place during the development of the store concept for the Drinkstore in Brixen. After we had formulated our rough ideas at the first meeting, the designers from Interstore brought them to life at the second meeting using colours, shapes and look & feel. We immediately felt that our vision was understood and that was a great moment.