Elk Grove Spirit Wars - Is Gil Moore David to Total Wine's Goliath?

February 28, 2016 | Notwithstanding the controversy that led to the approval and construction of a massive billboard on Highway 99 ...

February 28, 2016 |

Notwithstanding the controversy that led to the approval and construction of a massive billboard on Highway 99 and a gas-station-liquor-store-fast-food-joint, an Elk Grove businessman may have inadvertently may have become embroiled in an Elk Grove version of the famous 1980s cola wars, or perhaps more accurately, a classic David versus Goliath.

This skirmish does not involve cola; rather this beverage war has a decidedly 21st-century take - premium alcoholic beverages. The David in this battle is Elk Grove gas station and fast food impresario Gil Moore, and the Goliath is Maryland-based premium alcohol retailing behemoth Total Wine & More and its 22,000 sq. ft. Laguna Boulevard store.

When Moore started working on his creation that would eventually become Sheldon Centre on Sheldon Road and East Stockton Boulevard over four years ago, the space that now houses Total Wine was occupied by The Fresh Market. Once Fresh Market closed in March 2014, Total Wine had a relatively easy path to open their doors in Elk Grove, which they did late last year.

Conversely, Moore's arduous journey included tens-of-thousands-of-dollars in donations to current and former Elk Grove City Council, which Total Wine was able to avoid, and hostilities from Elk Grove citizens to get his "first of its kind in California" gas station and fast food outlet launched. By the time the Sheldon Centre opened last December, notwithstanding numerous grocers and premium alcohol retailer Bev Mo already offering a vast array of choices, Moore was already facing the prospect of competing against Total Wine with its thousands of choices in wines, beer and spirits.

Nonetheless, Moore has launched an aggressive marketing program to promote his Sheldon Wine Shop located inside the AM/PM convenience store and gas station. The facility has been prominently featured on one of Elk Grove's numerous chat boards, a slick video (see below) featuring the amenities at Sheldon Centre including its five-star McDonald's and Subway has been released and, with the assistance of his wife, will be hosting free daily wine tastings.     

So will Moore's marketing efforts be enough to attract the premium beverage consumer away from their favorite well-stocked grocery store or Elk Grove's two big box spirit retailers? Will Moore's personal relations with his customers be enough to carve out a place in Elk Grove's competitive premium spirit market?

Speaking from a personal perspective, Moore might have a challenge attracting premium wine and alcohol buyers to his store. Knowing a large homemade dish of eggplant parmesan was awaiting me on Friday night and dry-aged ribeyes for Saturday night, I wanted to get some food appropriate wines.

For the eggplant, a Chianti sounded good and for the ribeyes, a nice big Cabernet Sauvignon seemed like a fine choice. Even though Sheldon Wine Shop was closer to home, my choice was to patronize Total Wine given its large, well-trained staff and superior inventory.

As it was, my purchase included a bottle of premium Irish Whisky, some Yolo Brewing beer, two bottles of wine and left the store with my wallet $60 lighter. Not surprisingly my Cab purchase [a 2010 Emery Estate, Sonoma County] and a pint of Captain Ron's Ale was based on in-store samplings.

Had I simply wanted to purchase a non-premium bottle of wine like a Kendall Jackson or a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, perhaps I would have considered patronizing Sheldon Wine Shop as an on-my-way-home quick-stop sort of place. The challenge for Moore will be to provide premium wine consumers a compelling reason to patronize his store versus other choices in Elk Grove.  

Time will tell if Moore can attract that segment of wine consumers to his shop, but there is obviously a reason why the David versus Goliath folklore remains strong to this day - sometimes David wins.  

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Spoons and Forks said...

What? I was hoping to get some Mickey’s Malt Liquor to go along with my AM/PM nachos!

Anonymous said...

Because Gil Moore brought jobs to Elk Grove, maybe he should change his name to sound more Greek, and the get a city economic development incentive grant?

Anonymous said...

Living in mid-town or the area best called "The CFD Community" of Elk Grove, it is not likely I would be patronizing this business. It is new and the video is well done and I wish every business owner the best, but when I'm heading north it's to the city to do my shopping for the many things Elk Grove does not offer. Enough Fast Food joints...let's work on breaking that mold. Most likely will be hard to do as we are well known as "Coupon City" that caters to Developers and leaves all us hard working taxpayers scratching our heads and wondering what in the heck happened with all that money?

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if this works. Arco and McDonald's are lower end market segments so I'm not sure how wine and wine tasting fits with these brands.

Wolfgang Puck said...

Gil Moore states his McDonalds is “five star.” Now we are talking Big Kahuna! Let me know when you will be serving USDA Prime Grade filet mignon sliders paired with a Groth Cabernet and I will be there.

Now that would be one fine Happy Meal!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice in the video that some of the wine is displayed right next to the window, getting direct Southern sunlight exposure? Moore may be able filter out some the direct sunlight, but certainly not the heat even if the air conditioning is going full blast.

Maybe the owner of the chat board who shot the video will let his new boss know that displaying wine next to a window might cause it go bad.

Moore wouldn’t want any of his primo wine being returned as bad, now would he?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:25
I think they are making those wines as vinegar.

Anonymous said...

Vinegars soon to be called Gilmooric Vinaigrettes!

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