New exterior wall blocks have an attractive natural stone appearance. An interior supporting wall came down before new drywall and paint went in. No pipefitting had to be done but quite a bit of new electrical Romex cable was installed. A pair of automatic sliding glass entrance doors opens to a vestibule and then the store proper. Extra insulation was added throughout for energy efficiency. Parking spaces were tripled. The wine tasting room, which is a separate premises from the retail area but at the same location, was also tripled in size.
The new Spirit Shop’s crown jewel is the massive Cor-Ten steel sign out front facing northwest.
“That was Alan Moring’s idea,” Sterr said.
Cor-Ten is a group of steel alloys that were developed to eliminate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance when exposed to the weather for several years. The metal is often used for outdoor sculptures such as the immense Chicago Picasso piece in Daley Plaza. “We’ll be installing LED lighting behind it which should be visible from outer space, the Great Wall of China or at least the corner of Main and Berry,” Sterr said.
The operation is also adding a new Point of Sale check out system.
“It enhances speed of check out and inventory control,” Sterr said. “But easier access to product will be the main improvement our customers notice in the new shop. We have more storage area too making it even less likely that we run out of anything.”
Although inventory hasn’t increased fundamentally, product packaging has changed in the form of some beer brands being available in 12-packs that weren’t before. More wine choices are anticipated as new shelving goes up.
“Wine sales have increased tremendously since 1976,” Sterr said. “It’s the bulk of what we do, along with beer.” Unlike in years past, if the product doesn’t have a pleasing flavor today’s consumers won’t stick with it. “We still stock Boone’s Farm wines though,” he said. “But not Ripple.”