How Garage Project Focuses on Unique and Exclusive Products to Keep Customers Coming Back

Meet Garage Project — a New Zealand-based brewery started by three mates: Jos Ruffell and brothers Pete and Ian Gillespie.

Peter, Jos, and Ian started small by having their first brewery at an old petrol station. But what they lacked in size, they made up for in agility and the desire to take risks and experiment. 

Fast-forward a few years later, and Garage Project has four locations and continues to attract visitors thanks to the unique products and rich experiences that the brewery and cellars provide. 

We caught up with Jos Ruffell, one of Garage Project’s founders, and asked him to share the story of the business. 

Check out what he has to say!

1. Tell us a bit about how the Garage Project got started. What’s the story behind the business?

We’re a brewery that started in an old petrol station in Aro Valley, Wellington by two brothers and a lifelong friend. The idea was to bring exciting, boundary-pushing beer into the heart of Wellington. We wanted to establish a brewery that would give people an experience they hadn’t had with beer before, while being fun, playful and progressive.

2. What are the unique things about your store that customers love? How do you keep people coming back?

Our original cellar door is located right next to the brewery, so it’s an incredible experience to taste the beer mere meters away from where it was brewed. It’s where you once would have paid for your petrol, and maybe picked up a chocolate bar, now it’s an ever-changing selection of brewery-fresh beers on tap for takeaway, alongside cans, bottles, and even natural wines. 

Garage Project is constantly releasing new beers that are often in short supply. Coming directly to our cellar doors is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out, and also offers the chance to taste the different beers on tap while there.

3. What are some of the challenges that come with running multiple stores and how do you overcome them in your business?

It’s always a challenge to maintain continuity between stores, especially in different cities. 

Different outlets are always going to naturally grow their own character, but we make sure to fully induct our crew to the Garage Project way through visits to the brewery, an ongoing training + development program and plenty of involvement in making decisions around the venue. 

We think we have managed to ensure every venue feels like a Garage Project venue by investing in our crew.

4. Are you using any add-ons or integrations with Vend? Can you tell us more about what you’re using?

We use Shopify to run our webstore, and Xero to work in with our wider accounting. We have used a few others intermittently, as we try things out — Vend lends itself to this. Very versatile!

5. What is your favorite Vend feature and why?

We love being able to park sales — it makes it really easy to adapt our use of Vend across our different venues.

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.