In the retail industry, service and expertise are king. For almost 40 years, Salute Wine and Spirits has been providing an unparalleled liquor store experience to the Little Rock community.
Salute Wine and Spirits offers a wide range of fine wines, liquors, beers and other beverages at its store, located at 10700 W Markham St. in Little Rock. More importantly, Salute’s employees are highly experienced, able to provide detailed advice on food and drink pairings, as well as how to prepare your food to best complement your drink of choice.
This reputation for excellence has been built over the course of decades, since the store’s inception in 1982. It has steadily grown in size and service since those early days, doubling its space in 1996. Paul Bowersock, Salute Wine and Spirits’ owner, took the over the reins of the store in 2016.
For Bowersock, Salute Wine and Spirits represents the epitome of the liquor industry in the region, combining deep selection and expertise in a single location.
“I want Salute’ Wine and Spirits to be the best, not biggest, liquor store in the area. That means having employees who truly enjoy assisting our customers, a convenient drive thru, lots of free tastings where you can try before you buy, and of course a full selection of products and product sizes at great prices,” he says.
That customer connection is what drove Bowersock to dive into the business in the first place. After a 20-year career with Alltel, he was looking for a challenge – becoming his own boss in a customer-centric industry that he could help grow. He found it when he bought Salute Wine and Spirits.
‘It is a business that you can, if you manage it correctly and roll up your sleeves and get personally involved, grow and improve every day,” he says. “I love interacting with customers. Helping them pick the right bottle for the occasion and their budget, as well as talking about the Razorbacks, weather, whatever is current in the news that day.
No matter how knowledgeable customers are when they walk in the door, Salute Wine and Spirits employees ensure that they know more and are well provisioned when they walk out. If a customer is planning an event, the store’s employees can provide recommendations. If the customer is getting ready for a wedding, they can help make it that more special with the perfect choice of champagne for the big day.
What if you don’t know what you want at the store? They can help with that, too! In fact, the Salute Wine & Spirits has a helpful “Staff Picks” selection designed to guide customers to a great beverage selection. Bowersock encourages employees to get to know the store’s patrons, to learn their likes and dislikes, in order to be the customer best advocates they can be. It doesn’t hurt that the average Salute employee has more than two decades of industry experience.
“The customer has access to more information – internet, social media – than ever before, and there is more competition out there fighting for the same customers,” he says. “It makes it even more important to have seasoned, knowledgeable employees who not only know their stuff, but enjoy interacting with customers and finding solutions.”
Salute Wine and Spirits offers a variety of special services and discounts that keep customers coming back for more. One of the draws for the store is its convenient drive-through service, which helps customers who are in a hurry. Bowersock also hosts free tastings every month, bringing in customers to try new products and experiment with new flavors.
Tuesday and Thursday are “Wine Days” at Salute Wine and Spirits, where customers can pick up wines, champagnes, and sparkling wines at 15 percent of their regular prices. At Salute, there is no fine print for Wine Days – every single bottle is 15 percent off.
These special promotions and events are crucial for growing a strong customer base and maintaining loyalty in a crowded market like Little Rock. With this loyalty, Bowersock plans on keeping Salute Wine and Spirits an essential part of Little Rock for years to come.
“If we continue to take care of our customers, one customer at a time, they tell others and we can grow our customer base each and every month. That allows us to keep bringing in new products and new flavors,” Bowersock says. “It also allows us to keep having free tastings and letting our customer see what they would like to try next versus just taking our word for it. A healthy, vibrant local small business is good for the local community in many ways. We plan on being a key part of our local community for many years to come.”