Geerlings & Wade - Cutting Through the Vines (2,787 words)
A Countrywide Presence
From its licensed retail/warehouse facilities in 16 states, the company sells wine directly to customers in 30 states. "We believe we are reaching over 85 percent of the wine-drinking population in the United States," Pearce affirms.
As state-by-state expansion has occurred over the past few years, Geerlings & Wade is able to meet new customers, penetrating the markets in those states and selling more each year, he says.
Geerlings & Wade has distribution "hubs" in three reciprocal states: California, Connecticut and Illinois. The other 13 licensed locations only ship intrastate.
Pearce explains: "Louisiana passed legislation permitting a retailer to ship anywhere in the country, and we just chose to ship there from Illinois because it made the most sense for us. From our California warehouse we ship to other reciprocal states west of Illinois. Then we ship from Connecticut to Rhode Island and New Hampshire, because they've opened [themselves] as direct shipment states."
The laws lead to some illogical but necessary routes of commerce. Massachusetts won't allow shipment to or from any other state. So instead of shipping from there to New Hampshire, the company has to move product from Connecticut to New Hampshire, even though you have to cross Massachusetts to reach New Hampshire.
With the exception of a pure retail operation on Newbury Street in Boston, Geerlings & Wade typically locates its facilities in industrial parks. The facilities usually comprise a 400- to 500-square-foot retail showroom where the product is on display and people can walk in off the street and buy wine. Attached is a 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot warehouse in back, where the product is shipped out.
Pearce says, "Some wine merchants cover a few states from licensed facilities, and others don't hold any retail licenses but work with retailers, giving them less control over how the product is packaged, sold and delivered.