Top tips from the Dublin Off-Licence of the Year 2018
Martin’s Off-Licence, an independent, family-owned business, recently secured the esteemed title of ‘Dublin Off-Licence of the Year 2018’. After 40 years of thriving business, co-owner Declan Martin tells Cailyn O'Shea how his team manages to keep up with trends and stand out from competitors in a constantly changing industry
16 July 2018 | 0
At Martin’s Off-Licence, the Martin brothers, now representing a second generation, have stood the test of time to continue their father’s legacy of running a successful off-licence business. Their hardworking, tight-knit team has overseen growth in many areas including physical expansion, the range of products and creating an online presence.
The Martins approximately doubled their store size 10 years ago. From that point on, they wanted to “let the shop do the talking” and utilised that extra space to stock their shelves with “niche brands and products that won’t be stocked anywhere else”. With such market demand, customers come from not only the other side of the city, but also from the other side of the country. Specialisation of products, especially craft beers, makes Martin’s Off-Licence stand out in the market.
The staff are only a small team, but they are the formidable force driving the business forward. Martin’s staff are highly trained, must complete WSET course levels in wines and spirits, relevant beer courses, and must possess extensive knowledge of the drinks and retail industry. “Everyone from the young part-timers to our more experienced staff all have previous experience in the trade,” he says. The staff are also familiar with all the niche brands and are constantly “encouraging customers” to try new products. At Martin’s Off-Licence, you can purchase products knowing that you are in the hands of well-trained professionals.
Martin discloses how important it is for a family-run, independent business to excel at customer service. The Martin brothers have continued to cultivate relationships with families, forming connections that have been passed down through generations. “Between myself and my brother, there’s always someone from my family on-site,” he says. The Martins also employ local people and are on a first-name basis with their customers.
Describing the shop’s involvement with the Fairview community, Martin notes: “Whether it’s local sports teams, local schools, or local charities, we are involved.”
With a presence on sites like Instagram and Twitter, Martin describes the constant pressure to stay current on social media as both a blessing and a curse. Because it is such a huge time commitment, Martin’s Off-Licence splits up the daunting task of social media between all staff. “We’ve all got access to our accounts so that we try to add some kind of content on a daily or weekly basis,” Martin says. The store’s devoted team understands the importance of staying in contact with the customers.
Additionally, the Martin’s Off-Licence official website offers online sales, a growing business area that they’ve just recently tapped into in the past five years. They recognised the increasing demand for online sales and adapted to the rising market.
Educating the consumer
In the same way that they educate the staff, Martin wants to “educate the consumer and help them to make better, more well-informed choices”. To achieve this goal, Martin’s Off-Licence encourages regular in-store tastings, either hosted by themselves, winemakers or distributors. They hosted a gin-tasting on 9 June for World Gin Day and have planned a craft beer tasting at the end of this month, aimed at teaching cheese and beer pairings, as well as an annual Christmas Wine Fair, welcoming guests to talk directly to winemakers or distributors who can help them make selections for the holiday.