Niemann Foods plans to hire two beverage stewards to assist shoppers with their wine and liquor purchases.
One steward is slated to work in Springfield, Ill.; the other, Champaign, Ill. The stewards will eventually handle multiple County Market-banner stores, according to Martin Miller, category manager for the Quincy, Ill., retailer. The interview process has begun.
This marks the first time the retailer has considered beverage stewards. It decided specially trained personnel is key to continue to grow the business and to compete against major liquor stores like Binny’s.
“It is something that many large supermarket retailers have started to do in the last couple of years to provide better customer service in the liquor departments,” Miller said.
The move comes at a time when the retailer has worked to improve its wine and liquor departments in other ways. Among other moves, it has launched larger beer coolers and devoted more shelf space for more variety of wines and liquors.
“Our next natural step was to improve the training and customer service in our liquor department,” he said.
The stewards will help consumers find dry, semi-dry or sweet wines, and provide food-pairing ideas. They will also point out wines that are in the weekly ad or on special price promotion.