By Trevor Busch
Value Liquor proprietor Timothy Kim is quietly building up a solid customer base and offering deals where he can since he opened the business in May 2022.
Business has since fluctuated month to month for Kim.
“Up and down, up and down. But I think we’re trying to go up right now, hopefully.”
Previously operating in Lethbridge, Kim was looking for a community that better fit his needs, and found one in Taber.
“Something a little quieter, I wanted to downsize from the city. But Taber so far is not quite working out what I wanted it to be. It’s weird, like a lot of people move in, but at the same time, a lot of people moved out. And people that work here bring a lot of income to the town, but at the same time, they’re not always here. I think most people work out of town, they need to go and make their money. So I think sometimes half the time, half the year they’re not even here. So that’s trouble, right? Because half the year they’re not going to be here to support you. It’s not like they don’t want to, they just can’t.”
Kim admits he would have preferred a location other than the downtown at 5320 48 Avenue.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a bad location. Like I said, smaller size and see if I can make something out of it here. So it’s been working but at the same time it’s not quite working.”
Quality of service is important, and helps keep bringing customers back in.
“A little bit different with customer service, and stuff that we encourage. We don’t oversell, we try to give them the best deal possible. I want to be there so that you come back and give me more business right? So I think that’s how we’re different. I know how the industry works, what kinds of margins – you sell as low as you possibly can, and then you’re not surviving. But you bring the customers in to appreciate sales. So for another year or two, to learn the consumers – this guy is here to try right now to oversell or have a higher pricing. We need to meet what the market is around. It’s tough. We want to make more but you know what, we can’t overcharge them. So the best thing is, hopefully, instead of selling one item at the sale, four and five to make that money,” said Kim.
Kim believes customer loyalty is a thing of the past unless you are dedicated to offering something that others don’t.
“There’s nothing like that anymore. Nothing. So whoever has to buy, stay cheaper or they move away. There’s no loyalty anymore. I guess that’s where society makes us live like that. Instead of being, ‘Hey, we’ll give you a hand or we’ll support you’. Some people understand that we’re not here to control the pricing, it’s the government and when it was set, we have to meet that – some people understand, most people don’t. So hopefully they can get more educated on that part so that they don’t get mad themselves.”
Liquor sales is a cut-throat world of competition in 2023.
“More and more, it’s going to be more aggressive with aggressive means. I’m doing what I can to sell the lowest I possibly can that you guys love or enjoy. We can’t do that forever, but here and there when we can.”
Kim believes establishing a business and growing clientele is more important than making a flashy entrance followed by a quiet exit.
“Right now, it’s tough. I could buy just the whole idea of business’s point of view is you got to spend the money to get the money, right? So right now, we’re not doing it too much. Because the feedback that we get, for us is doesn’t make sense right now, are you going to spend that much money to get this right now? To get that, we’re just too early. So we have to first build more clients and know what we do. So we’re going to build it a bit more and then make that momentum, more splash. So that it makes sense for both of us. Because I can put sales rates out there cheap, like I did the first month or two. So we’ll try to make that splash or whatever we need, but if it’s not the right time, don’t do it. Because the structure of the company and structure of how much money you have, manpower, all these kinds of stuff count. So it’s hard in the beginning – either you go splashy, and then go out of business, or you try it and try to keep tweaking it out.”