Although we’re a software company, the most rewarding part is not simply the innovation, but seeing small businesses grow using both their skill, and our software. Success stories always make their way around the office. When I heard about Grand Cata, I knew I had to talk to them. What makes their business so successful? Here are some of the things I found out.
“Have a strong concept – and through that concept, tell a story.”
That sentence sums up my conversation with Julio at Grand Cata. He nails what’s really the two-fold task for businesses to succeed. A concept and a story. It’s exactly what they’re doing at Grand Cata.
Grand Cata, or the “Big Taste” is a Latino wine store in Washington DC, several blocks north of the National Mall. Operating since March of 2016, the store features a large selection of Latin American wines as well as “heritage” wines from Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Unlike a traditional store which may showcase most of their wines from Europe or California, Grand Cata flips it the other way around. 80% of their wines come from Latin countries like Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, many others. The other 20% are European or local craft wine.
Expect more than great wine at Grand Cata. Latino heritage is just as important. A trip to the store involves tasting and education. Both Julio and his business partner Pedro have Latin American roots. Julio was born and raised in Chile while Pedro grew up in his native Puerto Rico after being born in California. The two met while working at a media development NGO in Washington DC.
The Capitol was a great place to open the wine store. It has a large Latin American population and the international hub brings in diplomats, students, and tourists from Latin countries. For some customers, it feels like a taste of home. For others, it’s a brand new experience. “We’re providing a good service and a good value with the wines. We’re a need. People get super excited about the experience,” Julio told me.
Whether you’re in the store just to buy a bottle, or coming for one of their wine classes, you’ll learn about the history of the wine, culture, and techniques used to produce your selection. The store also has a wine club where members receive two hand-selected bottles and invites to wine tastings and other special events.
As you can see, Grand Cata has a tangible brand and true passion for their business. That’s not the end of the story, however. Like Julio said, it takes a strong concept and a story to succeed. So how do they tell that story?
Even though we partner with Grand Cata, I did what most people do when looking up a business: I Googled them. Their online presence is great. One of the first things I noticed were all the 5 star reviews. On Yelp, Facebook, Google, and Foursquare they bolster great ratings.
There’s really two reasons why. First is the company culture. “It’s because of who we are and the way we treat the customer. I can’t tell you we’ve been asking people for reviews, it’s been super organic.”
Second, it’s easy for customers to find Grand Cata online. Like my Google search revealed, their Facebook, Yelp, Google Business Listing, Foursquare, Twitter and more all popped up. There are at least four places to leave a review on the first page of search results. That’s where Jump has helped out. We published Grand Cata’s business information to 70+ online directories. Wherever their customers are searching for them, they’ll see the same information and great reviews.
Julio also credits Jump with increased traffic into their store. “We knew the neighborhood where we wanted to be because of the business plans and research we did for many, many years. At the beginning, of course, the first 5 months, we depended a lot on foot traffic trying to let the neighborhood know, which has been supporting us a lot. It’s become more of a destination, with the help of Jump. People are looking at Google and finding us.”
That led us to talking about the role online information plays in their customer journey. Without accurate information online, it’s impossible for the customer to make a decision. Really, the only decision they can make is to take their business somewhere else. This is Julio’s perspective: “The customer has to have the best information possible to have the best value. Give information to customers so they can actually make a better decision.” For Grand Cata, no matter where a customer looks, they’re going to see accurate information about the wine store.
Besides reviews and consistent information, another tool Grand Cata uses is social media. You can find them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Like information, Julio says that social media gives value to the customer. “Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Don’t underestimate the power of basically giving extra value to the customer.” The value is a better relationship with the brand.
Grand Cata uses social media to spread their company culture. Sometimes they’ll post about the history of different wines. Sometimes they post about store events. It’s all aimed at making the customer feel welcomed and engaged. They also use social media to grow their company blog. Blogging has become more of a focus for Grand Cata in the last couple of months. On the blog they’ll go even more in depth into the culture and history of the wines. They’ll write up tips and facts about serving and mixing wines. Traffic and interaction with their blog is increasing as they share those posts on social media.
In the next couple of years, Grand Cata has plans to grow both their business and the experience customers get. It all comes back to that core philosophy: “Be honest with the concept and the story you’re telling customers.” If customers leave the store having learned something new about wine and Latino culture, Julio tells me they’ve accomplished their goal.
There’s so much to admire and learn from Grand Cata. The business is thriving, customers love them, and they’re crushing it online. Hearing stories like Grand Cata’s is the most rewarding part for our team at Jump. If you’re ever in DC. and in need of a great experience, pay a visit to Julio and Pedro at Grand Cata. We know you’ll find them online.