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 Our Story
1995
It all started back in 1994. Well, actually it started before then. John had been asking for a wine making kit for Christmas. Having tasted some bad homemade wines, I was not entirely thrilled with the idea of my husband making wine at home. However, being a good wife, I did get him the asked for gift and he started on a journey that would change our life. I remember when he bottled his first batch and asked me to taste it. With much apprehension I took a sip and said, “Geez, it tastes just like wine”, to which John responded, “it IS wine. It doesn’t just taste like it!” I was sold and he continued making both wine and beer. Then one day he said to me, “I think we should open a wine kit store”. At the time, John was working for CN – you know, steady job, steady pay cheque. I thought he had lost his mind and think I told him that. However, after more discussion, I thought that maybe he was on to something. The only problems I could see was that he would have to quit his job, we’d have to sell our house in Yorkton, move with our 3 young children (ages 1, 4 and 8) to another city and start a brand new retail business, with neither of us having worked in retail. But neither of us wanted to look back in 10 years and say what if… We felt we were both employable should the venture go down the tubes and after all, it is only money!! Hahaha! Sometimes it really is good to be young and naïve.
And so it began...
Anyway, we did in fact do all those things. We bought a franchise called “Home Brewsters”, sold our house, and moved our family to Regina, which was the place John felt would be the best place for us to start our new business. Home Brewsters was located in a 376 sq. ft. kiosk inside “the old Superstore” on Albert Street and we were thrilled. About 2 weeks after opening our doors (well, it was actually a gate), Westfair Foods (who own Superstore) decided to stock their shelves with a competing product. So here we were, we had sunk all our savings into the store and, not only were we paying Westfair rent, we were now competing with them. We were stunned. I’ll tell you, nothing will take the wind out of your sails faster than trying to compete with Superstore inside Superstore. Around that same time, I did a bit of an analysis of our financial situation and determined that if our sales dried up, we would be able to keep our doors open for about 3 weeks before we’d have to close up shop for good. Yes, there were definitely a few sleepless nights. However, we tried to remain calm and I remember John saying, “We can’t compete with them on price. But we can offer much better service, so let’s concentrate on that.”  In many ways, I feel that Superstore did us a favour and I totally credit John for not panicking and coming up with such a fantastic solution. We did, in fact, concentrate on service and still do. I think it’s one of the things that sets us apart from our competitors. You just cannot beat our service. Of course, that was 20 years ago. Luckily we had a clause in our lease that allowed us to break the lease if Superstore started competing with us and we invoked that clause about a year and a half later and moved to Regal Plaza. We also got out of our franchise (which was not pleasant, but necessary) and changed our name to The Wine Cellar. We now had about 1200 square feet of space and felt like we had died and gone to heaven. All that space!!! We thought we’d never fill it up, but 5 years later we had, in fact, outgrown it and moved next door to our present location, where we currently have about 2400 square feet.
Now to fill all this space!
A funny story about after we had moved from 1652 Albert Street into 1646 Albert Street is how several times people would come in and comment on our ‘renovation’, prompting us to have to inform them that we hadn’t renovated, that we had moved and they had actually gone through an entirely different door than the one they had used for the last 5 years!! Still makes me laugh!

Five years ago, when the provincial government changed the legislation allowing for vint on premise, we undertook a major renovation to enable us to participate in this service, which has been fantastic.  It has brought new people into our store and has enabled us to hire more staff, without whom we could not manage. We have a very dedicated group of people working at The Wine Cellar. When we first started, it was just John and me. Now we have 8 part-time people all working hard to make coming to The Wine Cellar a pleasant experience for our customers.
Great memories with family and friends.
I have to admit celebrating our 20th Anniversary has made me very nostalgic. I have been doing a lot of reflecting back over the years. We have been extremely fortunate. We have the best customers, many of whom have been with us since our “Superstore days”, which absolutely blows me away. We think of our customers more like our friends. We have aged with many of you. We have gone through weddings, births and, sadly, deaths with you. We have laughed with you and cried with you. We are humbled by your loyalty.  I don’t think I can convey to you just how much your support has meant to us and continues to mean to us. We hope you will continue to allow us to serve you for the next 20 years!

Cheers!
John & Heike
Celebration Saturday!

Thank you again to all of you who came out and also for your patience. I know some of you waited quite a while to pay for your purchases. Thank you also for all the kind words, in person, by email, Facebook and LinkedIn. We appreciate it more than we can tell you.

Hopefully we can serve you for the next 20 years!

Wow! That’s all I can say about the response we had from all of you to our Celebration Saturday. It was an amazing day for us.
So many of you turned out to reminisce and take advantage of the great discounts on wine kits and many other items.

The prize wheel was a big hit, with three lucky people winning Wine Making Experiences, six people winning Vinturi Wine Aerators and countless others winning other great prizes like Spiegelau ice wine or beer glasses, scrubbies and more.

     Congratulations to Bonnie Wyman!

     Bonnie was the winner of our grand prize package worth over $600!!
Wonderful Words...

We appreciate all of the congratulations that have come in for our Anniversary! We thought we'd share a few with you.
Saw this and thought of the wonderful business you have made for yourselves, John and Heike, because of your warmth and generosity of spirit and the way you treat everyone who crosses through your door as a friend. You have shared your passion with so many and I just wish I could walk through your door on November 22nd to personally wish you a Happy 20th Anniversary. Cheers!
- Deborah Patch on Facebook
Wanting to tell you that Heike, your story is very interesting and I have stayed with The Wine Cellar for the reasons you mentioned - customer service!
- Rick Enns
Happy Anniversary to The Wine Cellar! John, Heike and their team deliver the most outstanding customer service in town! I wish you many, many more years of success and, of course, FUN!!
- Danielle Carrier
Thank YOU! To all of our customers for the loyalty and memories over the years and to our staff for making it all possible!
- John & Heike
Thanks again to The Wine Cellar for providing us with another great afternoon! I think we also have a fan!
- Sheena Shepherd on Facebook

Many Congratulations on this momentous occasion! I can't say as I remember shopping at the Superstore location, but we definitely have been making wine for many years and we have appreciated your customer service! Happy Anniversary and Cheers to 20 more successful years!
- Ray and Kathy Bechard
Thanks to our team member, Lisa, for organizing & hosting a great 20th Anniversary party for us and to the other team members who came to celebrate with us. Good food, good wine, good company!
- Heike on Facebook

Congratulations and all the best for the next 20 (and more!!)
- Jean
And so our story continues... at 2300 Dewdney Avenue, in the Regina Warehouse District. We're looking forward to it!
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