Shoppers are stocking up on necessary items, such as food, toilet paper and medicine, but it turns out beer, wine and few other more risque items are on shoppers’ lists as well.
Dustin Mitzel, CEO of Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops, said, when customers come into a branch of the liquor store, they are buying more than usual in preparation for a possible extended stay at home. According to Mitzel, having extra beer, wine or liquor around can help restore a sense of equilibrium to the otherwise abnormal situation caused by coronavirus.
“Adult beverages in the proper moderation are something that people can just sit back and say ‘You know what, I just want to have a beer and act like things are normal for a little while,’” Mitzel said.
Store staff began noticing the trend last week, when customers were buying more of their favorite drinks to keep on hand at home. In particular, boxed wines have been doing quite well, as they have a reasonable shelf life and offer good value and high volume.
“The one thing that kind of caught my attention was 3-litre and 5-litre box wine,” Mitzel said. “It’s good for four to six weeks, and if it’s a 3-litre box, there’s 24 glasses in a box.”
Despite the take-off in wine sales, sales in general are up, and a variety of products are being put into consumers’ shopping carts.
“It’s been tough to say what the winner is, because everything is just kind of sold overall,” he said.
Certain liqueurs and wine products that Happy Harry’s doesn’t typically stock in large quantities might be tough to find, as aficionados buy all that they can. Not to worry though, rare wine lover, Mitzel says his business is able to restock, so consumers shouldn’t need to worry.
“Our distributors and suppliers have good supply lines, no inventory issues, so it wasn’t a problem as far as running out of things,” Mitzel said. “It was just that people focus their energies after toilet paper and food on adult beverages.”
And speaking of adult, DVD sales at Romantix Adult Boutique have seen a bump, despite overall walk-in traffic being lower, as people stay at home and self-isolate.
When asked to characterize how big of a bump sales have taken, Brandie Johnson, who works there, said: “Noticeable.”
She attributes the increase to people wanting to “spice it up.” When asked what other products have been popular of late, Johnson said: “Nothing that we could specifically write in the Grand Forks Herald. Nothing speaks out, but it’s been a lot more experimentation.”
Part of the decrease in walk-in traffic can be attributed to online sales, though Johnson said she doesn’t have access to the number of online sales at all of Romantix’s 63 locations. The business does offer in-store pick up for those who don’t wish to have items delivered to their homes.
“It’s never a dull day here,” Johnson said. “Even on slow days, it’s never dull.”