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Wine Recommendation from this Episode: 2018 Pacificana Zinfandel

I got to chat with Rusty Sutton about how he is changing the retail shopping experience with The Green Monkey. Between his bright personality and the well-placed bar in his store, he created a one-of-a-kind gift shop experience.

Rusty set out to create a new way to shop. Instead of a traditional gift shop, he built a community in Raleigh, NC. Customers may initially come in to purchase an item from the retail gift shop, but they stay to hang out with other monkey fans at the bar. What he loves most about his business is the community, and I can’t blame him. Monkey fans are just as invested in the store as he is. They are eager to welcome new patrons, and they are sure that each new customer gets their first visit button. Yes, they really get a button for their first visit. It’s like Disney!

Like every business, The Green Monkey was affected by Covid. But that is when the community he created really showed their loyalty to the store. Even when the store was closed due to restrictions, many customers came by every day to buy more beer. What did they do with all that beer? He asked! But he already knew. They were supporting him and giving him part of the love back that he has given them. How cool is that? And he hasn’t just been doing curbside orders. He has fully embraced the challenge to keep the community alive. By streaming live videos and hosting weekly virtual bingo, Rusty has used his creativity and heart to keep the monkey fans connected.

Stop in and have a drink while shopping, shop online, or attend a virtual event. What’s your order: beer or wine? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!

What’s Inside:

  • Opening a new kind of store is a challenge that Rusty embraced, and maintaining his authenticity and his vision helped him thrive.
  • Having clear roles for employees helped Rusty use his strengths and delegate other jobs to the people he worked with. Stepping back and letting them figure out how to complete tasks has helped him maintain his relationships (like working with his husband)!
  • The “gift of gab” has helped Rusty cultivate relationships that have built a community.

Mentioned in this Episode:

Follow @crystaluncorked on Instagram
Follow @CrystalUncorked on TikTok
Crystal Uncorked on Youtube
Get this wine on Winc, and they can try Winc and get $22 off their first box by using my link
The Green Monkey
Rusty’s Drink – Southern Pines Brewing Company, Single Action Blaster
Savvy Shopkeeper
Retail Details
The Retail Doctor
The Happiness Project