New York is home to over 1.5 million small businesses that employ more than 60 percent of the state’s workforce. The Main Street Minute series celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners, who create jobs and strengthen our communities.
MEET NFIB/NY MEMBER NEIL KRATZER
Owner of The Wine Room
5272 Main Street, Williamsville, New York
Tell us about your business.
The Wine Room is a 3,000 sq. ft. retail wine and spirits store. I sell, market and display wine, spirits, educational classes, wine events and small group events.
What makes The Wine Room special?
Customer service – Helping customers learn about wine to meet their desired taste. I created the Flavor Style chart to aid customers in finding wines they love. It’s very gratifying to see how happy this makes customers.
How long have you been a small business owner? Who or what inspired you to own your business?
I’ve been a small business owner for eight years. I was inspired to start my own retail store because I think I can provide the customer a highly enjoyable shopping experience for wine and spirits that’s different than the industry norm.
What do you most enjoy about running a business?
It is rewarding to work with employees who believe in the mission of this business– to create a fun, easy and enjoyable shopping experience. To have customers also feel like they are part of the business is also a special experience. My proudest moment is watching employees grow into knowledgeable staff with confidence and then create positive customer interactions.
What surprises have you encountered in running a business?
The number and scope of decisions I make in one day; sometimes within each hour of each day. Also, I was surprised at how cash flow impacts the business by holding you back or propelling you forward.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I meet with fourteen different sales reps per week and sample, taste and evaluate about thirty wines per week. Each day has sales rep involvement, customer retail sales, accounts payable and decisions about the future direction of the business. The best part of my day is helping a customer find a wine or spirit they love. The customers’ happiness makes my day.
How do you define success?
I define success in the positive relationships I have with people in my business and my life. Success comes to me in a moment of each day when someone thanks me for taking time to listen or a smile on someone’s face.