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Toward a 21st Century Package Store: Public Safety & In-store Experience

As a major reforms to Massachusetts’ Alcohol laws work their way through targeted working groups and the legislature, David Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More, is not only proposing a way forward, he’s presenting a full case study.

Informally referred to as the “21st century package store”, these changes aim to transform the package store industry to fit the needs of the modern consumer. The 21st century package store, according to Trone, hopes to meld the business model of alcohol purveyance with goals set forth by public health advocates, and local beer, wine, and spirit producers.

“Job number 1,” says Trone, “is no sales to minors. We owe that to society. We owe that to each other.” This has been one of Total Wine & More’s main focal points, and the results are impressive. With more than 365 million transactions logged, only 13 were confirmed to involve underage purchasers. This number sounds incredible, but for Trone and Total Wine, it’s the result of a carefully thought out strategy.

“Our team members, if they would sell to minors, they lose a job,” Trone explained. “If they card someone, they get a little bonus, if they turn them down, they get a bigger bonus. If you find someone with a fake ID, and we arrest them, they get a much, much bigger bonus. We pay our managers to work hand in hand with the police.”

The idea of package store management working almost as an extension of law enforcement is something Total Wine & More embraces in many ways. Total Wine team members are also given bonuses if they identify and report intoxicated consumers, or if they refuse to serve these customers. Similar bonuses are given if employees notice suspect behavior anywhere on the premises of a Total Wine & More location. Incentive systems such as these promote employee loyalty, help law enforcement by working in-step with them on alcohol related issues, and work in tandem public health and safety measures. Ultimately, this results in a comfortable, safe and mature environment for Total Wine shoppers.

Another, more obvious aspect of Trone’s new package store proposal deals with aesthetics and service. All of Total Wine & More’s locations are spotlessly clean, brightly-lit, and streamlined for a satisfying and uncluttered experience. The end game, according to Trone? To ensure that wherever consumers shop, they will be met with a standard of excellence.

With increased support for law enforcement, and clean, well-lit establishments, it seems that Total Wine is truly ready to embrace a 21st century mindset. For Trone, all these improvements have one target in mind: consumers.

“We are a part of every community we’re in.” Trone reminded.

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