Just a little more than a month after announcing the closure of Park Avenue Wines, Tom Pence, the former owner, has re-emerged on the Orlando Specialty Wine Market scene in an Imperial Wine Bar venture. According to Tom, he has a 1500-member mailing list, as does John Washburn, the owner of Imperial wines, and by merging those two lists, they attained a critical mass of potential customers which allowed them to pursue an email-wine-offer business. In this model, Tom would seek out great wine deals which would then be offered to customers on the mailing list. If a customer wants to make a purchase he/she can either respond to the email or call a telephone number included in the email. Sales are by credit card only and purchased wines will either be delivered (for case orders only) or can be picked up at the Imperial Wine Bar on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The venture launched with a 2009 Amestoi Txakoli mailing on August 19th.
The business model of the venture is unique in that while it is a part of the revenue stream of every provider in town, in this case it is the core element of the company's business. I had two conversations about this venture with Tom yesterday, one on the telephone and the other in-person at the Imperial. He was very positive about the potential of the venture. In our initial conversation Tom indicated that this was really an Imperial venture and that he was only a consultant. His level of involvement suggests a very activist consultancy.