Wednesday, July 15, 2009
ANTICIPATING THE RETURN OF OLD FAVORITES
Almost 7 years ago, I came to the Kentucky side of the river to start work as the Wine Buyer for Liquor Direct Wine & Spirits. I have been here longer than I had been at any job in my life. It takes a lot for me to stay somewhere for any length of time, because I bore easily. I love change. Thrive on it.
A year or so into my gig here, a particular importer, one that shall remain nameless, called me one day, to complain about the prices we were posting on our Web site, prices on their brands. We were too low, they said. Accounts in New York and New Jersey were fuming because they were buying containers of product, and we were still beating them in price. I couldn’t understand why they were upset, because these “accounts” were not competing against us. When I informed the importer we worked on a lowe margin than most retailers, “he” explained that when they (the importer) are privy to such information, they often charge those accounts “more.”
Isn’t this price fixing, I thought?
Before I could say anything, he stated that they couldn’t control what we charged, but I knew that proceeding with business dealings would be futile. I pulled the plugged, and up until now, we have not carried their products.
I was always angry at this fact, because for anyone who knows me, knew that up to that point, I had actually hoped to finish my wine career working for “them.” I had always been a big fan of their portfolio, and it really pissed me off that we could no longer sell their brands in these stores.
Well, I have been contemplating reversing that fact, and recently let the importers know we were interested in doing business again through our wholesale rep. The ball is rolling again, as they responding in kind that they want to sell us some “cases.” It is almost like seeing an old friend for the first time in years. I am awaiting a new price list, and hopefully, the import portfolio version of the prodigal son will be returning very soon.