By Josh Resnek
As a longtime Kappy’s shopper – I grew up with the Kaplans on the North Shore – I never imagined there are larger liquor stores out there competing with them for volume and customers.
Well, after a visit Monday afternoon to the Total Wine store in the Gateway Mall, I can’t wait to have a talk with the Kaplans about what is going on there.
First of all, Total Wine is the largest, best stocked most overwhelming liquor store experience I have ever had.
I would think most shoppers there would agree – it is a wine, liquor, beer and more experience quite unlike any other in the area – all the way to Newton, really.
Talking with the manager of the place, one of the manager’s that is, was like a trip inside the psyche of the founders and owners of Total Wine, David and Robert Trone.
I knew from talking with Mike Sciarappa, the manager, that these owners really know what they are doing.
Sciarappa, who grew up in Cambridge, has been working at the store for about a year and a half.
“It is the nest retail rm I have ever been associated with,” he told me of his experience there.
“I am loving it here,” he added enthusiastically.
If you like wine, this store is your wine heaven – more than 10,000 wine items, a cool $8 million to $10 million of wine, spirits and beer in stock inside this sprawling, alive, gorgeous liquor retailing giant.
“We did about $31 million here last year,” Sciarappa noted with pride.
“Our biggest selling item here? Cabernet Sauvignon.
‘We sell about $5000 to $6000 a day of Cabernet. It is our biggest seller. Our number one,” he said.
I bought a bottle of port which Sciarappa picked out for me.
“This one is what you want,” he said to me handing me the bottle.
It was a ten year port product from Portugal called Carvalhas – Quinta Das Carvalhas – a product traced back to 1759 on the Douro River.
Twenty-four bucks and I was happy as a clam.
Again, the shopping experience was top shelf in every way.
I’ll be heading back.
“The future of this business is keeping our customers happy and offering always the best customer service. That’s it,” said Sciarappa.
Try it out, if you haven’t already, Total Wine at the Gateway Mall.
It is truly a one-off for this area – a tremendous shopping experience.