Like the post office and local coffee shop, an NSLC store is often a cornerstone of the community. Our New Germany store, for example, has always been known as a place to catch up with your neighbour and chat with friendly and knowledgeable employees. Thanks to a beautiful renovation it now offers a truly modern and well-rounded experience.
“It’s a wonderful thing for the community,” said Manager Nicole Holland. The renovations had been a topic of conversation in the Lunenburg County village for weeks. She said it’s a vibrant and exciting place with its enhanced product assortment, a walk-in beer cooler, chilled single serve and Ready To Drink section, new shelving and a complete update to the corporate colour scheme. “Customers are commenting on how grateful they are that the NSLC invested this amount of time and effort into their community,” Nicole said.
We have a diverse retail network. Some stores are large and offer a full selection of products and services and others have a smaller footprint and product offering designed for customer convenience. We’re excited to be investing in our stores to provide a consistent experience for customers across the province while reflecting the communities we serve.
As part of this effort, the signs outside our stores will make it clear to customers what they can expect to see when they get inside. New Germany has the proud distinction of being the first of more than 30 of our small stores to become a Select store. Customers can be confident their shopping experience will be consistent in all Select stores across the province.
New Germany now carries more than 500 top-selling products and has the flexibility to feature about 15% of that assortment with products that are made nearby. We were extremely excited to update our Springhill and Annapolis locations to Select stores last year as well.
These investments are part of our broader commitment to update our stores across the Province. It’s an exciting initiative that will make a big difference for our customers, our employees and the many communities where we live and work.
Fifteen of our largest and highest volume stores will eventually be branded as Signature stores. We began development of the first Signature store on Portland Street in Dartmouth in the 2017-2018 fiscal year and we’re thrilled with how it looks. We have re-designed the store to create a better customer experience, added a Port section with premium wine and spirits tasting units, Limited Finds and a Cool Zone. We also have a Product Specialist to help customers explore the product assortment.
A number of our stores, such as Eastern Passage, Lunenburg, Wolfville and Liverpool, now have Cool Zones, refrigerated rooms where customers can shop from the beer and Ready To Drink categories. These stores carry the sign most familiar to our customers – Beer Wine & Spirits. Previously, Ready To Drink products and single-serve beer were unrefrigerated on regular store shelves. Customers could only get six-packs and cases of beer in a refrigerated unit and they had to open a glass door and reach in to get the product. Now customers can stroll about an entire cold area.
We also changed the shelving strategy in the Cool Zone this year to consolidate local products, putting them front and center, and we dedicated 27% of shelf space to Nova Scotia craft beer.
Our standard Beer Wine & Spirits logo will remain on about half of the stores in our network. “These stores are across the province. As we further define the look and feel for these stores, customers can expect a robust product assortment, chilled products, local products, and in the larger stores, a Product Specialist to offer assistance in finding just what you’re looking for,” said Andrew Stenhouse, Manager, Network Development.
As part of our store investments, we continued the rollout of neighbourhood Express stores designed especially for customer convenience by opening stores in Scotia Square and Park Lane malls in Halifax, in Burnside and on First Lake Drive in Lower Sackville. These stores offer a limited selection of our top-selling 300 brands and complement our nearby, full-size stores.
The format for each Signature store, Select store, Express and Beer Wine & Spirits store will be the same so that over time our customers will know what to expect from a store from the logo out front. This will help create a positive experience and strengthen our brand equity.
“We have undertaken a huge effort that’s really exciting to roll out. Implementing this approach involved our Customer Strategy team, design specialists, and especially our Customer Experience team at store level, who have lived through the renovations and stayed excited all the while. It’s rewarding to receive feedback from customers who are just as excited by the fresh look of their stores and enhanced assortment as we are to design and build them,” Andrew said.
With the Banner Strategy, we now have 106 stores in cities, towns and villages across the province. In each of them, our employees are ready and excited to welcome the next customer through their doors, providing them with the ultimate in customer service.