Gary's Wine CEO on Giving Back to the Community
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Gary Fisch, President and CEO of Gary’s Wine and Marketplace, who shares the importance of giving back to the community through the Grand Tasting event. Gary also gives advice to new and experienced wine drinkers.
"Everything you've ever wanted or needed to know about wine, you're gonna find out right now. Gary Fisch, Owner, CEO, Gary's Wine and Marketplace. Founded when? 1987. 30 years ago. Get out of here! How did you know, back then, back in the day, 30 years ago, wine is the thing? How did you know? You know, I saw it happening. I fell in love with wine when I was 22-23. Nobody was drinking wine. I'm like, "It's coming. It's a..." You travel to Italy, France, everybody drinks wine with a meal. It's happening. It's coming to New Jersey. And when the opportunity came to open the store in '87, I said, "We're gonna be a fine wine shop in New Jersey." But you were a very successful salesman for a company we know well, our friends at Fedway, right? Fedway. Sure. Richard, Neil, Rod, that whole crew? Yeah. Right? So you said, "I want to go out on my own"? Yeah. How scary was that? It was terrifying. You know. I was married, nine years - eight years. 29 years old. So six years. And I was doing great at Fedway, and I loved it. But when the opportunity came to run my own business and to grow myself, I said I had to do it. There was no question in my mind that that was the direction for me. They walk into one of your stores. What do they experience? The experience is comfort. We treat every customer that walks in as a guest. As a friend of the family. You come to us, we don't sell you wine. We have a conversation about what you want. What are you having for dinner? What do you like? What don't you like? And then through conversation we figure out what is the best beverage for you, whether it's a spirit, or wine or beer. It doesn't matter to us. It's about making you happy. How do you train your people to do that? Because that's not just selling. That's something more complicated than that? You know, we joke... Or different? Maybe not more complicated. Well we joke because we try to hire people that have passion for wine and selling. And then we taste so much wine, we drink so much bad wine... [laughter] ...so you don't have to. That's really what we do. That's how you get to what you want and need? We... A, it allows us to taste an enormous amount of wine. B, it allows us to filter, right? There's thousands of wines coming at us everyday. And what we do is we say, "Yes, no, yes, no." Our wine team is tasting along with us. So then..."