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When it comes to fine barware, top-notch service doesn’t always come with the goods. Joseph Grace Brands is an exception. The New Jersey–based company prides itself on distributing the world’s top brands while delivering quick service, competitive prices, and exceptional quality. The company has been doing so since 1998, when two cousins working in wine distribution saw a universal need for quality barware among their accounts. They set great value and impeccable service as their first and foremost goals; fast-forward through 20 years of growth—including a partnership with Metrokane for exclusive distribution of Rabbit products—and the service-oriented philosophy is still a driving force.
Customized Branding in Record Time
Along with its well-curated collection of barware and accessories, Joseph Grace Brands is known for its unique customization services, available for a wide range of products. While customized orders with other suppliers may stretch on for weeks, Joseph Grace employs an in-house design team that specializes in quick turnaround. It’s one of the services that keep customers coming back.
Gary Fisch, the CEO of Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, a retail chain also based in New Jersey, has been working with Joseph Grace for more than a decade. Fisch recalls a notable occasion when one of his biggest customers was in a last-minute bind. “They were having a holiday party and forgot to get wine bags logo-ed,” Fisch recounts. “They literally called me on December 16, the day before the party, and needed 200 logo-ed wine totes.” Fisch called Joseph Grace immediately and explained the urgency of the situation to his customer representative. “The next day, I had a delivery from Joseph Grace with all the customized bags,” Fisch says. “They went above and beyond.”
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In Texas, Spec’s Wines, Spirits, and Finer Foods has been working with Joseph Grace for the past 17 years. When the 200-location wine retailer was looking to make store-branded corkscrews, it turned to Joseph Grace. “They had the proof to me in an hour. And they got the business!” says Dawn Eaton, Spec’s barware buyer. Spec’s even requested an additional thousand corkscrews after the initial order because Eaton so appreciated the quality and customer service. She says, “They are bringing business to themselves by being excellent people.”
Bars, breweries, wineries, and hotels are also part of Joseph Grace’s satisfied customer base. “Items on which we imprint our logo are usually our top sellers,” says Catherine Arthur, a buyer at Biltmore Estate and Winery in North Carolina. Wine stoppers, electric corkscrews, and openers are just a few of the many Joseph Grace products purchased regularly for sale at the hotel and winery.
Meeting Customer Needs 24/7
Whether you’re a retail shop or a restaurant, orders can come in at the last minute and are often urgent. Products with quick sell-through need a speedy restock, aided by sales representatives that fulfill orders in a timely fashion.
Eaton says that since she became Spec’s barware buyer, purchases from Joseph Grace have increased exponentially. “Their shipments are always on time—even early!” she exclaims. Despite the considerable distance between the brand’s New York–area offices and Spec’s Texas-based retail stores, delays have never been a problem. “I usually have to wait two to four weeks for a delivery from other companies—but I get orders from Joseph Grace in days,” says Eaton. “I love that.”
Back in New Jersey, Fisch describes how busy his retail stores can get and explains how the chain’s relationship with Joseph Grace has helped his employees out in a pinch. “If we have a question, our rep is immediately there,” Fisch says. “If we’re falling behind with getting stuff on the shelves, we call up the rep and he helps us do it—there are no other companies with such strong customer service.” Quick responses, a can-do mind-set, and a pitch-in attitude have made Gary’s Wines a loyal Joseph Grace customer.
Forging Lasting Relationships
Maintaining strong relationships with clients is always a priority for Joseph Grace. “We’re a family company—and we treat our clients like family. It’s one of our core principles,” says Anthony Senerchia, the general manager for Joseph Grace Brands. “Although we’ve made changes and created new partnerships, the brand is still owned by one of the founding partners today.”
That family-first mentality has been critical in ensuring long-lasting relationships with clients nationwide. Says Spec’s Eaton: “We have a relationship, and that’s what I think makes it so much easier to work with them—because we are friends.” Despite her Texas location, a Joseph Grace representative visits at least once or twice a year from New Jersey, just to say hello and show that the company cares. Says Eaton, “They really show a lot of appreciation for me and Spec’s.”
High Quality at Competitive Pricing
When stocking a bar or retail shelves, you should never have to sacrifice quality for price. At Joseph Grace, there is no compromise. “It’s high end, because you have the Houdini and Rabbit brands included, but it’s also competitive pricing,” Eaton says. In addition to their fair prices, the quality of the products speaks for itself. “All of their bags fit well,” Easton says, “from [holding] a small bottle of wine to a large bottle of alcohol. That’s very handy!”
Arthur says Biltmore Estate continues to source from Joseph Grace because the company stocks the “very high quality and recognized brands our winery customers expect.” How likely is Arthur to recommend Joseph Grace to industry colleagues? “Very,” she says, adding, “We have always received prompt customer service. And the products are always top-notch, at a fair price.”
Although keeping prices low is a priority, quality is the company’s benchmark. “The Zippity Two-Step [corkscrew] is one of our top sellers. It retails for under $10 and carries a lifetime warranty,” Senerchia says. Other products carry five-year, 10-year, and lifetime warranties. “That’s a standard,” he says, “that’s unheard of in the industry.”
At Spec’s, cocktail shakers and wine bags are among the chain’s biggest sellers, as well as the Houdini Waiter’s Corkscrew. Eaton reports that 320 of the Houdini corkscrews were recently sold in just four weeks. Sell-through was so high that a newly opened Spec’s location dedicated an entire wall just to Joseph Grace products, to test new products alongside best sellers.
Att Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Fisch says, the Rabbit line of products sells best, though he personally loves the all Joseph Grace’s products. “The packaging is sensational,” he says. In years past, Fisch would source from several barware distributors, but he found the visual effect too chaotic. “We were using a lot of different brands: X would look like one thing, Y would look like another,” he says. “Now it just looks much better when we set the shelves.”
Finding quality, competitively priced products in a timely fashion, with dedicated service, is a rarity. Yet, despite changes within the company and strong growth, these values form the core of Joseph Grace’s business. “I don’t know how they do it!” Eaton says. “My Joseph Grace reps are my favorite—and I work with 240 accounts!” The passion, attention to detail, and genuine care for its clients are what keeps Joseph Grace’s business growing, through word of mouth and loyal customers who keep coming back for more.
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