MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2 - 41

FACES BEHIND THE SHELVES

CLIFTON DENHA
PRESIDENT, WINE PALACE, LIVONIA
winepalace.net

COURTESY OF CLIFTON DENHA

One social media reviewer seems to sum up the
top advantages of this Livonia alcohol store quite
succinctly: "I go out of my way to shop at the Wine
Palace because of the selection and service! Whether
it's beer, wine, or liquor, they have the largest selection in the area. When I stop in they greet me by name
and make me feel like I'm their best customer."
The newly remodeled 9,500 square feet includes
a brand-new beer cave, coolers and humidor, with
an extensive selection of craft beer, cognacs, bourbons, single malt Scotches, rare liqueurs, wines from
around the world and more. Thanks to the store size
and attentive staff, Wine Palace has one of the largest
alcohol selections in Michigan.
And because of the Wine Palace's sales experience, customers often have access to special, limited-release products, like Pappy Van Winkle, Founders CBS, Bell's Hop Slam and Eagle Rare 17-year
bourbon. Not sure what you want? Not only will the
sales staff provide assistance, you can visit during a
special tasting event to try a sample of what's new.
Clifton Denha is president and jack of all trades at
this family-owned business. Along with his business
partner and brother, Kelly Denha, Clifton and the Wine
Palace staff know their products-and their customers.
How did you become involved in the industry?
Clifton Denha: I've worked for my dad all my life and
never worked for anybody else. I learned everything from
him. He owned 23 stores all over the place, mostly in the
city. We built this one 32 years ago. We were also in the
supermarket business that had beer, wine and liquor.
Tell me a little about the beer, wine and spirits
program at the Wine Palace.
We read a lot of the trade magazines and we see
where the market is going, but we also have to be in
tune with what the customers want. We promote the
items that we feel are hot out on the floor, and we
sprinkle in other items to give customers a gauge of
what's going on. We have lot of square feet here, so we
use a lot of displays to highlight products.
We try to have a hot item in the wine department.
Every segment of wine will have a very recognizable
display at a very aggressive price. If a liquor is hot,
that's displayed on the floor.
I know it sounds cliché, but customer service is
key. We really strive for that. People come in here,

and my brother and I have been here so long that
people ask for us. That's why we have to be here all
the time. People don't see us, they walk out, especially if they want to make a large purchase.
And the way we take care of our customers-we
dote on all the details. If they want something, we'll
look for it, and we will get it even if we don't have it.
That's what differentiates us. Customers are not just
a number for us. We know our customers by their
first names; we know what they want.
What do you specifically do at Wine Palace?
Everything! I do everything. I'm here a lot, and I
work a lot of hours. I have four sons, and I treat this
store like it's one of my own babies.
What do you enjoy about the job?
I like interacting with the customers. I have a lot
of close friends in the supplier business; I have a lot
of close friends that are salespeople-we go out together; if I have a first communion or a wedding, they
get invited. We have a lot of friendships.
What do you enjoy about the industry?
I enjoy all the different friendships.
[And the changing products.] It's weird how an
item can be so hot, then this year it's not. This is the
way it is in our line of business. You have to ride the
horse, whatever is the hottest trend. That's key in our

Clifton Denha, President, Wine Palace (Livonia)

SPRING/SUMMER 2018 41


http://www.winepalace.net

MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2

MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2 - Cover1
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MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2 - Cover3
MSA Pure Spirits 2018 Q2 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/MSA_Pure_Spirits_2019_Q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/MSA_Pure_Spirits_2019_Q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/MSA_Pure_Spirits_2018_Q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/MSA_Pure_Spirits_2018_Q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/MSA_Pure_Spirits_2017_Q4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com