Herb Flieger at Cornerstone LiquorTwo Provinces, One Community
Cornerstone Liquor has been a steadfast purveyor of liquor in Lloydminster since 2000. The only Albertan city located in two provinces—Alberta and Saskatchewan—Lloydminster is a vibrant and growing city.
Cornerstone’s customers flock from both provinces and beyond as the store is easily accessible, located on the TransCanada Yellowhead Highway and Highway 17. Lloydminster is one of the most entrepreneurial among mid-sized cities, which gives rise to many celebrations to cheer about. In addition, the long-standing oil and gas energy sectors and agriculture continue to thrive in the area, making a glass of wine or beer easily appreciated after a hard day’s work. Cornerstone Liquor has been providing outstanding and reliable customer service to this community with its small town feel and many amenities.
Building a Customer Base
Cornerstone’s owner, Herb Flieger, has built trust through providing consistency and reliability to his customers that keep them coming back. The store offers friendly and knowledgeable staff along with a large selection of beer, wine, coolers and spirits at competitive prices. One of Cornerstone’s most attractive features is its outstanding wine selection. “We sell a lot of wine and we have the biggest selection of wine in the city,” says Herb. “We have the room and we order a lot from customers’ requests. We will get it in and over 90% of those times those wines sell pretty well and if they don’t, they age”. Getting to know their customers and their preferences in addition to providing exceptional customer service are at the core of this store’s business values and this helps them retain customers.
Cornerstone Liquor has signage on the highway as it is located in a strip mall just off the road. Beyond attracting locals, its excellent location brings in many travellers. “We have a lot of customers that come through on their highway travels, and they make this a stop because they know it’s the best price before they go home,” Herb shares. Its location in a busy strip mall adjacent to Canadian Tire and to Walmart also provides a convenient draw for keeping a steady flow of business. According to Herb, fair prices are a major motivator for repeat local customers as well as central Albertans and customers who often visit from Edmonton.
Focusing on the fundamentals of marketing that include honesty, word of mouth, and connecting with the community is essential to Herb’s philosophy in running a successful liquor store. Herb is well-known in Lloydminster, opening his first store when privatization first occurred in 1993 and having run Cornerstone Liquor for many years. He has been an active voice on city council as well.
Being one of the bigger stores in the area is another draw. “Our store is 5,000 sq. ft. and we have nice wide aisles so there’s no clinking around,” Herb explains. “Most liquor stores are small and the walking space is narrow, and I am not sure you would get a shopping cart in there.” The easily accessible parking lot also creates the opportunity for those travelling in large motorhomes and trucks to stop and shop.
Herb emphasizes that one of the store’s distinctive features beyond his pricing structure is honesty. He says, “We think our prices are pretty fair. One of the things that we do and nobody else does is when you come in and see a price on the wall, that’s the price you pay. All the other stores show a base price and when you get to the till you are surprised with GST and a bottle deposit. We have always maintained this. We don’t like fooling the customers and it seems to work.”
Herb and his team rely on providing unparalleled customer service and create fun ways to engage with shoppers such as in-store contests. Customers enjoy the displays that incorporate new items and seasonal products, such as their current peppermint-themed display saluting the holiday season. Herb welcomes liquor representatives that enjoy making in-store displays and these sometimes include contest draws such as winning a new beer fridge or suitcase. The draws enthuse local customers as well as attracting new shoppers.
Connecting with the Community
A big focus at Cornerstone Liquor is community. In many smaller towns and cities it is common to entertain a slower pace of life, where customer service includes lengthier conversations and time spent facilitates more genuine connections. Herb also supports local distilleries and breweries, staying true to fostering community as a core value. Creating a friendly environment that supports accessibility, ease, and consistent service has sustained Cornerstone Liquor as a long-time establishment in the Lloydminster community. Herb can be proud of his business—his success is unmistakable as happy customers continue to return and trust that they have found their preferred liquor retailer.