A good friend and I are starting to talk a little bit about opening a wine shop in Los Angeles and we are trying to figure out how much money and resources it will take. Neither of us has owned a business like that and neither of us has really worked retail regularly in quite some time (I'm currently a sales rep for a small wine importer and he has some bar experience from years ago.) Just looking for any advice and any ballpark figures of what kind of money we should try to raise. It's just an idea right now so we're trying to figure out what is feasible. Thanks!
It really depends on what kind of wine shop you want to run.
How big of a space do you want?
What part of town?
What type of wines will you sell?
How many days will you be open?
How many employees?
What are the tax laws and prices on alcohol licenses you will need?
You need to come up with a few different business plans and figure out your budget. You could open up a wine shop for a few thousand or a few hundred thousand. Too many factors to give you an honest number.
How much inventory will you have in stock?
What will the turn rate be?
How are you capitalizing the venture?
What type of debt servicing obligations will you have?
How much of a cushion do you want to have if things go wrong?
You need to spend the $15-30 on a basic business plan book, then spend about 40-80 hours reading the book and researching questions you might have. Honestly, you're probably not going to get great answers here, but if you start googling things like "independent wine retailer los angeles" and reaching out to those owners, asking them about the challenges they've faced, you'll find the time well spent.
Link to a wonderful article Ms. Kelli White wrote a few years back. Great information and insight that might be useful to you.
So You Want to Open a Wine Bar?
My husband and I own a Tampa Bay area wine bar/retail for 14 years. Begin with the end in mind with your partner. Lay out what an exit strategy would be for one or both as life throws curve balls. Camp out at successful operations and familiarize yourself with what sells and what price point. It’s not hard to find wine knowledgeable staff any more but find ones with passion for people, honesty and a commitment to doing things right the first time and you will enjoy the hours it takes to get it started so much more. Write down what you really love about your concept so you can revisit it when the going gets tough and be willing to adapt. Adaptation in this industry is so important and your clients will lead the way here, listen to them. Best of Luck to you both for years of success and amazing friendships... wine brings people together!