Charles Bennett, Hanslope Wines, Milton Keynes
How would you describe your shop?
Independent off-licence specialising in wine.
How have sales been so far this year?
Marginally up (4%).
What's your projected turnover for the current financial year?
How do you try to market your shop?
Local advertising, tastings and supporting local groups and societies (schools, drama, sports).
What's the best bargain in your shop?
Te Ha Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - £ 5.69.
What's the best-selling wine?
Best category: Chile. Best individual wine: Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
What do you sell that should be going like hot cakes, but somehow isn't?
Specialist beers and lagers.
Describe your typical customer in one sentence.
Middle class professional with a young family.
Are you in favour of minimum alcohol pricing?
Yes, if only to prevent the supermarkets selling below cost.
Which suppliers do you find most helpful and why?
Hallgarten Wines - absolutely nothing is too much trouble for them regardless of quantity or circumstance and their promotional support is second to none. Booker Cash & Carry - for similar reasons, but they do not deliver.
Do you think there are now too many independent wine stores or can the sector continue to expand?
I think any new entrant to the market would find it a terrible struggle.
What are your plans for the coming year?
Keep the business vibrant, maintain one's passion, entertain the customers and ensure that they enjoy the whole experience whether tasting, buying or both.
What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting afresh tomorrow?
As much as I love this trade ... RETIRE!