Last week, doors to the much-anticipated Total Wine & More quietly opened, as the Wilmington location readies for an official grand opening Thursday.
Taking over the short-lived Earth Fare on Eastwood Road, Total Wine & More delivers what its name suggests: international and local wine and beer from a wide range of price points, drinking-related accessories and snacks.
The Wilmington store features a “brewery district” dedicated to local brews, including displays with familiar hometown brands and faces showcasing the city’s thriving brewery scene. A nonalcoholic section offers a range of brews for nondrinkers, a cigar room has an array of smokes, a beer cave keeps select cases and kegs cold and a permanent tasting station will be open on the weekends.
Set to host an invite-only preview party prior to Thursday’s formal grand opening, Total Wine & More is already open for business, with a "now open" banner hanging from the store's facade. The grand opening will include tastings, vendors and other celebratory offerings to christen the new store.
“Wilmington is so happy we’re here,” said store manager Dawn Ward. “That’s just been the overall theme of things, is people are just so excited to have a Total Wine in Wilmington."
Crews began physically setting up the store in early June and the first truck of wine arrived last week.
The national outlet has worked for several months to upfit the 23,000-square-foot former grocery store to its liking, with the space serving as a larger-than-usual buildout for a typical Total Wine. “It was a very long labor of love,” Ward said, adding that the store’s current layout is typical for the brand. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, the company operates 232 "superstores" across the U.S.; Wilmington is the company's 13th location in North Carolina, according to its website.
After beginning the hiring process in April – assisted by Hi-Wire Brewing’s hospitality in sharing its space for interviews, Ward said – the Wilmington store is fully staffed.
Nearly all local breweries that bottle or can their products already have shelf space in the store, Ward said. Additional food products made in North Carolina will be added to the store soon, Ward said.
The Wilmington store, 943 Military Cutoff Road, will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
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