[UPDATE - Kari Out Wine & Spirits was purchased and is now Mill Street Liquor.] Kari Jacobson, owner of Kari Out Wine & Spirits, is no stranger to the liquor store business, having built up 14+ years of experience before purchasing the former WJ Liquors at 107 N Mill Street, Lake Mills, Iowa.
“I used to be the City Clerk and Treasurer for the City of Kiester (Minnesota,)” said Kari. “I was also the manager for the Kiester Municipal Liquor store.”
While working as the manager of the municipal liquor store in early 2000’s, Kari turned the money-losing business into a profitable asset to the community. Profits have since been used to purchase equipment including a street sweeper and snowplow.
Kari decided to try her hand in the Iowa private sector, and established Kari Out Wine & Spirits in June of 2015. Kari Out Wine & Spirits carries a large variety of spirits, wines and beer. Kari is very focused on providing options for everybody; she does her research and bases orders on customer requests. She also sells merchandise and beverage-related products, including coasters and personalized glasses.
Kari enjoys the liquor store business and the experiences it brings her.
“I enjoy visiting with customers and helping them to find the products they are looking for. I like to get to know them, it helps me to identify their needs and be able to cater to those,” Kari said. “In most cases, I can put a custom order in on Wednesday and get it to customers by Friday. Getting to know my customers has helped to promote those kinds of services.”
Kari also uses social media to try to connect with her customers. A quick scroll through Kari Out Wine & Spirits’ Facebook timeline and you see a string of humorous graphics, recipes and interactive posts.
“Facebook is my primary source of communication to customers,” said Kari. “It’s a conversations starter. I have customers come in and tell me about recipes they have tried. [Using social media] definitely creates a different kind of business-consumer relationship than the normal methods of advertising.”
Kari has considered adding wine kit services to her product line, which would allow customers to make their own wine. The customers mix the ingredients and return to bottle the product when it is complete. Kari Out Wine & Spirits would house the wine as it ferments, completing the necessary steps along the way. It is a service Kari would like to offer, but has run into limitations.
“It’s a lot like having people come in to fill growlers, except the customer actually owns the product, we would just provide the kits and fermentation services,” said Kari. “I don’t think Iowa legislation has seen many examples of this kind of service or know how to regulate that, so they currently don’t allow it. But I haven’t given up on educating them!”
Kari tries to introduce fresh, new products when she can. Craft beers are continuing to gain popularity, and many distributors offer seasonal products that change every year. The fall brings several flavorful options, including cream-based pumpkin liquor and spiced beers.
Stop in and check out what’s in stock – and ask about ordering your favorite beverages!
Kari Out Wine & Spirits | 107 N Mill Street, Lake Mills, IA 50450
641.592.5450 | Like us on Facebook!