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NSW Success Stories – P&V Merchants

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, NewtownCREDIT: Maclay Heriot

Mike Bennie and Louise Dowling, P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

NSW Success Stories
– P&V Merchants

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

Mike Bennie and Louise Dowling, P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

Hashtags #lovensw #ilovesydney

When the lockdown was announced in June, co-owners of popular Newtown wine shop P&V Merchants had just opened a second venue in Paddington that was quite different to the takeaway-focused model of Newtown. “The energy of the business is so intrinsically linked to the cross-pollination of concepts in the Paddington building; it’s a restaurant/bar/bottle shop and a confluence of everything in between,” Bennie says.

Bennie and co-owner Louise Dowling immediately decided to try to build up another aspect of the business so they could keep the kitchen and floor staff employed. That was the most important thing to both of them – beyond profits and pivoting during lockdown – that no one would lose their job.

So, Bennie and Dowling turned their attention to the online store. The team enhanced and increased their EDM, started offering same-day delivery every day of the week and extended the cut-off time for orders. That had an immediate follow-on effect and online orders started picking up, so Bennie was able to employ the floor and kitchen staff from Paddington as delivery drivers.

Since the beginning of lockdown, online orders have now increased by 200 per cent and Bennie has gone from employing one to two delivery drivers in total, to needing up to nine drivers on the busiest days of the week. He’s also been able to employ out-of-work creatives in their wider network as drivers, including musicians and artists, and his total staff has gone from eight people to 30 in the last 18 months.

Bennie also put the message out that they were able to facilitate wine tastings over Zoom. “All of a sudden we found ourselves in the line of sight of corporate businesses, which is incongruous but wonderful,” Bennie says, where larger organisations were asking P&V to hold Friday afternoon wine tastings for their staff. It allowed another P&V staff member to throw herself into this new arm of the business, arranging cocktail making classes and building up the program. Bennie hopes to continue the classes after lockdown, which could allow him to reach customers “as far as Penrith, or the Central Coast.”

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

As they did in the last lockdown, P&V are selling products from their inner west neighbours in both stores – ramen packs from Rising Sun Workshop have been a huge success, as well as canned cocktails from Newtown’s Continental Deli, bottled cocktails from Enmore’s Jacoby’s and Earl’s Juke Joint, and products crafted by independent out-of-work chefs like chilli oil. “They view us as a market stall,” says Bennie. The enoteca style of the Paddington venue means it is well set up to provide a beautiful shopping experience, “and a lot of people make it the high point of their day, have a conversation, learn something,” Bennie says.

It is P&V’s focus on community that Bennie credits to the fact that they’ve been able to increase capacity during lockdown. “It’s the lifeblood of P&V. During lockdown people have time to research more – and P&V by its nature does good work, is invested in reaching out, having great culture, caring about the community.” When a ute crashed into the Paddington location in late August destroying the facade, it was the local community who rallied to ensure P&V staff morale remained in tact.

After the news of the crash spread on social media, customers started dropping gifts off to the Paddington shop for the staff. “Little funny games, nice notes, flowers to brighten the shops. Then we started getting care packages from beer and spirit suppliers.” Every bit helped. “Paddington is such a village – the long-term residents were really concerned.”

Mike is most keen to build strong community bonds post lockdown – with more regular charity work, continued focus on diversity and culture and enhancing the community – all the things that matter, pandemic or not.

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants, Newtown CREDIT: Maclay Heriot

P&V Wine and Liquor Merchants are purveyors of natural wines, craft beers and unique, artisan spirits.

#lovensw #ilovesydney

pnvmerchants.com
Instagram: instagram.com/pnvmerchants
Facebook: facebook.com/pnvwinemerchants

For more information on things to see and do in Sydney go to www.sydney.com. 

Share your favourite holidays in Sydney and NSW on social media using @sydney #ilovesydney @visitnsw #lovensw. 

The NSW Government via Destination NSW is sharing a series of NSW Success Stories – businesses of all types that have adapted their offerings to face the current environment and continue serving their community with a fresh approach and shining success. These innovative initiatives are nothing short of inspiring.  

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