First and foremost, from the beginning, our focus has been to make sure that we could keep as many employees working as possible, and in a safe atmosphere. We wanted to make sure that we had the same hourly employees working here as we had when all of this started.
The Beginning: The first thing that we did was lock the doors and open the front roll-up window. We made our roll-up window a Grab and Go window. After six-foot distancing was suggested we added extra depth to our counter so that the customers are now more than six feet away from our employees. We also added other items to sell, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products, potato chip products, wraps prepared by a commissary, bottled water, healthy granola bars, games, puzzles and sodas.
Hand Sanitizer: We sell 3 oz. containers of DIY hand sanitizer. We offer these to customers for $4.00, or they can have one free with the purchase of any wine. In addition, we give a bottle of hand sanitizer to every person we see in town or at a freeway offramp who appears to lack the wherewithal to get to Walmart at 7:00am to purchase some form of sanitizer before it is sold out. The Oceanside Police Department did not have enough hand sanitizer, so we gave them 50 bottles. We offered them to the Oceanside Fire Department, but they did not need them. I make runs to Walmart to pick up supplies for our businesses and I deliver to neighbors so that they can stay isolated at home.
Communication with our Wine Club Members: We first sent out an email to our 200+ wine club members, wishing them well and responding to their offers of assistance by asking that they support us by purchasing one bottle of wine per week. They’ve been tremendous. We send out emails every few days explaining our specials, giving them an update and often including a link to a "personal message” video that we have recorded like this one from Maureen (my wife) and me. We have also created a FaceBook Group that only our Wine Club Members will be able to access. Oceanside is a very friendly place and we have an incredible community of Wine Club Members, and we’ve done what we can to stay connected.
Food Delivery: We went to two great restaurants near us, Rim Talay and Rosewood Kitchen, that are obviously struggling, and suggested that they put together a special menu with a simple selection whereby someone can create a "Dinner for Two" for $25. We take the orders over the phone for the food and the wine that they choose to purchase and deliver to Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista and San Marcos. Delivery is free. We give the restaurants the entire $25, so that this helps them financially. There are days where our deliveries of their food make up a large percentage of their business. I personally, as the owner, deliver these Dinners for Two and wine seven nights per week. You'd be amazed at the sense of community I feel when delivering the food and I believe the effort will help to build goodwill and strengthen our sense of Community. Because of the social distance required, the food and wine has to be left on the ground, as opposed to being handed over, as was typical merely a month ago. Leaving our wine and the food on the concrete felt uncomfortable and unsanitary, so we created a "Home Delivery Placemat". Picture showing a delivery here.
Special Offerings: We add something additional to our offerings each week to keep everything fresh and give people another excuse to support us. This week we are promoting "Family Game Night". We have partnered with a Carlsbad game manufacturing company, USAopoly and we will deliver the Meal for Two, Coomber wine and a choice of a board game or puzzle that the customer can purchase from us. Customers can choose from two board games (Simpsons Monopoly and Breaking Bad Monopoly) or a puzzle (1,000 piece Game of Thrones). Here is Heidi’s video message to Members regarding “Family Game Night.” We now have added personalized face masks that we purchase from local surf shop and surf lesson owner, Cory Whitlock.
Local Business-Support Organizations: You cannot possibly believe how much Visit Oceanside, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, and MainStreet Oceanside have helped us, this introduction being an example. Businesses should be interacting with, and supporting, their local Business-Support Organizations. We share ideas and they each have great social media systems, employees and infrastructures. We have always happily supported these tireless organizations. But, after this catastrophe I will forever go out of my way to sing their praises. In addition, we have worked closely with Michelle Geller, the Economic Development Director of the City of Oceanside. She has done everything that she possibly can to support us and the other businesses in Oceanside.
Focus on local businesses: We partnered with the two restaurants mentioned above for home delivery of a “meal for two and wine”. Those restaurants are Rim Talay and Rosewood Kitchen. We also partnered with Carlsbad-based USAopoly for selling, and delivering, games and puzzles. We believe that wherever in the County you live, if you have to buy something, buy it from a local business that has kept their doors open (includes locally-owned franchises). Every coffee, meal or growler of beer makes a difference, as most small businesses have minimal labor costs now and are hoping to make enough money to pay their fixed overhead.
Landlord Tenant Relationship: Before the mandated shutdowns, the owner of our building reached out to us and made it clear that we are partners through this and said that he was going to do anything that he could to help us through this. Having a partnership like that is one of the main foundations of a successful small business.
Media: Our President is Will Burtner, who is Will the Wine Guy on Fox 5. He is producing his spots from our wine tasting room. Last week’s segment was about home delivery of wine. This week’s segment focused on supporting local wineries and breweries.
Here is a folder with numerous pictures and videos germane to our story. It includes the pictures and videos from the hyperlinks above.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via phone, text or email if there is anything else that I can provide for you that might help you.
Coomber Craft Wines Oceanside