Founded in 2009, White Horse Wine and Spirits in Absecon is not your average liquor store. Inspired by good food and drink, entertaining, and enjoying life to its fullest, the store caters to customers with a curated assortment of beer, wine, and spirits at discount prices. The store also features an inspired housewares and kitchen section, a gourmet grocery section, and a kitchen serving freshly made take-away food using mostly organic ingredients and local produce. The store is owned and operated by father and son Steve and Adam Sternberger, as well as daughter-in-law Elizabeth McCabe. The family team has extensive experience in the liquor store and restaurant industry and has a well-known passion for food and drink they share with their customers to create a one of a kind shopping experience. Heady Times talked to Adam Sternberger about how White Horse Wine and Spirits has elevated the beer shopping experience.
Heady Times (HT): How do you set yourself apart in an increasingly competitive industry?
Adam Sternberger (AS): From our wide aisles to the music played, to the friendly staff working the sales floor, we aim for a pleasant shopping experience. Our Market, a gourmet foods and grocery section with an in-house kitchen serving fresh, made-from-scratch food for carry-out, has really elevated our store and sets us apart from other liquor stores. As for beer, we have really focused on the local trend and have done our best to stock the best beers from New Jersey.
HT: How do you decide which beers to bring in?
AS: We decide based on demand from customers and what’s being buzzed about among the beer community, plus we put a strong focus on local beers. The NJ craft beer scene is growing really fast and in the past year or so, a few local breweries have come out with some really stand- out beers that are making a name for themselves on the national stage. A little bit of research based on trends and listening to customers goes a long way. Local is huge and IPAs are always in demand and 16 oz. cans are hot!
HT: How do you organize your large selection of products in the cooler?
AS: We organize by domestic and imported and then categorize further by the trends – hyper-local section, high demand craft beers, door with all cans, door with all bombers. Kramer representatives and suppliers also help us decide how to place products in the right places to maximize sales and profit.
White Horse Wine and Spirits owner Adam Sternberger
HT: What do you enjoy most about the business?
AS: We’re a family-run business, so first and foremost, we love being able to work every day with people we love. We have 26 employees and use the combined skills and talents of our employees to run the store, so many employees are cross- trained in different departments to make everyone more versatile and invested in the store’s success. It’s also great to have the opportunity to be creative and take risks because it is our business. We also love being a community store that has a diverse customer base. Although the summer brings business from tourists, we have a strong year-round business thanks to locals who are proud to call our store their neighborhood shop.
HT: What industry trends do you think will have the most impact in 2018?
AS: In store pick up and local delivery are starting to be of importance in all markets, not just the city markets. With this I believe the importance of an up-to-date website making a large impact in 2018. We fully revamped our website to enable us to offer pick up and local delivery options.