WINNER: Star Liquor retail manager Rachael Coleman won the best individual service award and the best retail over 10 staff award.
WINNER: Star Liquor retail manager Rachael Coleman won the best individual service award and the best retail over 10 staff award. Mike Richards GLA121116BEST

Popular business' trick for winning over life-long customers

POPULAR for its wide array of craft beers and wines, Star Liquor has continued to grow despite the hard times.

The Best in Business winners took out two awards, best individual service and best retail over 10 staff.

Star Liquor retail manager Rachael Coleman said without the retail team behind each store it would not have been possible.

"We probably couldn't do it without such great staff," Ms Coleman said.

"Winning the retail over 10 award was a shock because we were competing with massive businesses.

"It was a fantastic honour knowing all the hard work into a bottle shop has paid off ... in the scheme of things we're a little bottle shop."

Ms Coleman said working in the industry was difficult because the amount of time spent with each customer was very low, making it tough to develop good relationships with regular customers.

"With our service you only get three or four minutes with each customer," Ms Coleman said.

"You're not cutting their hair or spending hours with them, so we have to build a rapport with them in such a short time frame.

The manager said it took three visits for a customer to find confidence in the store before you could rely on them being a regular.

And it's through supplying unique stock that keeps locals coming back for more.

Ms Coleman said the three Star Liquor stores in the region stocked craft beer depending on the popularity of it with each demographic.

"We also have a point of difference and stock craft beer like Baffle Beer," she said.

"You'll never find it in chain stores and it helps local companies trying to get their brand out there."

Since taking home the two titles, the independent company has a vision to expand their franchise across Queensland.

With the plan to have 70 retail outlets across the state by 2020, Ms Coleman said the decline in Gladstone's economy had not affected their business.

"The Gladstone market is in decline however our stores are still on par with last year, so we are trending up in the scheme of things," she said.

"It's important for businesses to have recognition for their hard work, especially with smaller businesses."

Ms Coleman said they had seen a lot of new customers who had been recommended by other regular customers.

"The customers trust us in what we're selling," she said.

"We only stock well known products, we liaise with a lot of reps to create the best product awareness and we have total confidence in what we're selling."



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