Grapes of growth: Blanc & Rouge’s expansion powered by Epos Now

Bruce and Mina photo

Simpler payments

Epos Now Payments takes processing fees during sales so Mina and Bruce don’t have to worry about a hefty end-of-month bill.

Accurate liquid stock

Blanc & Rouge manage their expensive wine inventory in detail with suppliers, cost-prices, and extensive inventory management.

Handy app options

Blanc & Rouge adapted their POS system to dovetail the Quickbooks app, broad and specific inventory plus target marketing to customers.

About Blanc & Rouge

Blanc & Rouge is run by husband and wife team: sommelier and former journalist, Mina Williams and ex-sales pro Bruce Rutkin in the walkable town of Snohomish, roughly 30 miles north of Seattle. This cute, independent wine shop is now in its second decade of operating, offering classes, personal service, and a broad selection of red, white, sparkling, and pink wines from around the globe. Following the location’s success, the team has expanded with a second store in Arlington, and is taking Epos Now with them!

Joined Epos Now
Wine seller and wine bar
Snohomish and Arlington, WA

International wine with notes of local service

Blanc & Rouge has witnessed a lot of change since the original owner, Mary Pat, opened the store in 2012 to share her passion for quality wine selections. In 2018, Mary Pat retired and sold Blanc & Rouge to her trusted employee Mina and her husband Bruce with the assurance that the store’s commitment to anti-snobbery service with a top-notch selection would remain unchanged. Mina, Bruce, Stephanie, and Quill, cherish the tight-knit, wine-loving community that keeps coming back thanks to their warm welcome.

“It's a beautiful store, and the community is incredible! We know these people; we go to dinner, and they come to my house, and we go to their homes,” says Bruce. 

And at the center of it all, of course, is the wine: “We specialize in international selections from South Africa, South America and, of course, France, Spain and Italy. Of course, we offer bottles from Washington, Oregon, and California. But there is such a big world.”

Out front Blanc Rouge

A smooth switch and superb start

After taking over Blanc & Rouge, Bruce felt the existing POS system needed changing. He explains: 

“When we bought the store Square was in use. We felt we needed hardware that was robust and software that was flexible. We went to Shopkeep which was purchased by Lightspeed. The wireless scanner didn't work very well and getting tech support was impossible. You’d call for help and they’d say you have to call another division. They just couldn't get stuff right. I got very frustrated.” 

In 2022, after surviving Covid-19 by using deliveries and curbside pick-ups, Mina and Bruce found Epos Now and called up to speak with the team.

“The sales consultant seemed to have some care in the way he dealt with us, and having been a salesman, I don’t like when I’m pressured. But the Epos Now team presented a good product at a decent price. Your team helped us train for optimal use and transferring our customer information and inventory. They took the time to answer questions. We called many times to learn how to do ABC and D.”

"Epos Now’s people are fantastic. They’ll take charge of the POS to troubleshoot. They talk to us. They get it fixed."
Bruce Rutkin

Uncorking success with a second shop

Blanc & Rouge’s second location opened late in 2023 in nearby Arlington, meaning there are two sites to stay on top of. The new store means new employees. Training on Epos Now has gone very smoothly. "It is so user-friendly!" Bruce has also found managing a growing business is more practical, thanks to the cloud-based system: “I like that I can go to my phone or my laptop and I can pull up to see what we're doing if I'm not at the shop.”

“We are signed up with premium support, so I can call all the time. So, why would we want to look at any other company for the new store in Arlington?”

Mina using Epos Now

No bottle left behind

Any wine lover could tell you how valuable good quality wine is, which makes looking after Blanc & Rouge’s inventory a vital task.

“Just last week, we had a new winery start-up with high-quality hard-to-find selections of $80 and $200 wine. To get in front of the curve we had to add these bottles to our inventory quickly. It was a snap to enter accurate pricing, track inventory levels and to make adjustments,” says Bruce.

“Our system allows us to scan items using the UPCs and put in the wholesale and retail pricing and how many bottles we have of each. It also has the ability to run a report on how much we sold each day and how much we sold of each brand. That is really important to us.”

Payments without the end-of-month pain

Blanc & Rouge also turned to Epos Now for payment processing, which brought several benefits for Mina, Bruce, and their team members.

“The card reader does a great job for us. Before, we couldn't put a screen up that allowed customers to add a tip. Now, when a customer walks up to the counter and they put the credit card in, they can easily leave our team a gratuity.”

Bruce continues: “The first platform I used took the payments and then they sent us a bill at the end of the month, so I ended up owing them a couple of thousand dollars. I still made the payments, but I ended up having to worry about putting the extra money aside.”

Thankfully, through Epos Now, Bruce no longer has the headache of unexpected bills! 

Blanc Rouge till screen
"With Epos Now, when I do a settlement each morning, the percentage has been taken out already, and that attracted me to Epos Now Payments."
Bruce Rutkin

The crisp aroma of the perfect pairing

We asked Bruce how his team gets on with the system, especially with their new store in Arlington with new hires. Bruce said: My team members are younger than me, and understand the technology better, they find it very user-friendly!”

But how does Bruce feel about us? 

“Would I recommend Epos Now? Oh, no question. We looked at other POS providers, but with the likes of Clover you have to buy so many different components to make it what we want, so it winds up getting very expensive. We've had multiple companies get in touch regarding the POS system, and I don't have any desire to change. I don't really need to change, even for these ones that say you don't pay any fee (which is baloney because you do!).”

Wine rack Blanc Rouge

Mulling over Mailchimp and Quickbooks

Mina and Bruce have found a system that worked well for them. Despite a list of special needs that Blanc & Rouge has, including the need to integrate into their POS system. That’s why they turned to Epos Now’s AppStore for those extra tools that make running trading as easy as punch … or even a nice red.

“Mina uses MailChimp for our newsletters, special sales and stuff like that. Meanwhile, our bookkeeping team has to have the ability to use QuickBooks on your system or they would have said no to us! So these two integrations are very, very important to us.”

Wine platter

Blanc & Rouge and Epos Now blue

Bruce and Mina feel confident in their POS system, but how do they feel about the future of their business? When asked, Bruce is measured in his response:

“I want both stores to do well, but really this is a passion project. We've built a community. People come in and there’s hugs all the time; my customers go on vacation and they bring us presents; some customers will bake bread and cookies and they'll bring them in. Then they get to know the rest of our customers and on a Friday night at tasting sessions. It's not just to come and have a glass, they come in and they socialize.”

It’s heartwarming to know Mina and Bruce have made so many friends through their business, and as we leave them, we know they’ll have more time to spend with those friends now that Epos Now is taking care of the Blanc & Rouge team.

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