Retail goes down better with a beer

Marketplace Staff Apr 24, 2009
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Retail goes down better with a beer

Marketplace Staff Apr 24, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: What do you do if your company is selling something that people don’t want to buy? Well here’s a cheery strategy — it’s part retail store, part happy hour. Cash Peters explains.


Cash Peters: Is this the daftest thing ever? Serving drinks in clothes stores to lure in business.

Gina Blancarte is manager of Lisa Kline Men in West Hollywood, where the celebrities shop.

Gina Blancarte: We’re not trying to lure their business, we’re just trying to keep them happy and comfortable, and just extend that extra thing to them.

Ooh, extra thing. I love extra things. But a mojito? While you’re trying on a pair of pants?

Blancarte:: It’s either mojitos or margaritas or maybe a simple beer.

Peters: If a celebrity comes in, right, and they try on a bunch of clothes, the moment they leave do you run over and sniff them?

Candice Buenrustro: No, I can’t say I do.

Peters: You see I would.

Buenrustro: Oh, haha.

Peters: That’s the first thing I’d do.

Buenrustro: Yeah, I think you should stay out of retail.

Candice Buenrustro, there. She’s their barmaid. But good service in stores has been absent for quite a while, have you noticed? Now, thanks to the recession, the customer — that’s us — is king again.

Christina Lazaro: You’re right, it’s this economy, it’s really . . . you can’t predict anything.

That’s Christina Lazaro of the Blue Jean Bar in Santa Monica. It’s a clothes shop, with a happy hour. Their “extra thing” is wine and beer, for anyone. Even if you don’t buy anything.

Natasha Peeay:

Natasha Peeay: You don’t have to try on jeans in order to get a free drink.

Peters: I’m cheap enough that I would come in and just drink your wine and leave and never buy the jeans.

Peeay: That’s fine.

Oh yeah, right, sure it is. Problem is, happy hour was a disaster. When I got there, the shop was empty. I blame the wine.

Peters: Oh my God. How many weeks has this been sitting here? Wow. You obviously picked the real top-of-the-line wine.

But what do I know? In the end, we had to stand in the street, heckling people.

Peters: Would you like some free wine?

Passer-by: No.

Peters: She said no.

But then, Christina saved the day. The nail salon next door was full of people who looked like they urgently needed to get hammered.

Lazaro: Hi everyone. Just so you know, next door at the Blue Jeans Bar, we have a happy hour and we have free wine and beer — and 10 percent off of all jeans.

Peters: Would you come next door for free wine?

Woman: Yes.

Peters: You would? There’s also a six-pack if you want one.

Woman: Alright, then I’ll come. Haha.

Beer. It’s the answer to every question ever asked.

In Santa Monica, Calif., I’m Cash Peters for Marketplace.

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