September 19, 2018

New Look for an Old Favorite as Joe Canal’s Renovates in Order to Offer More Great Tastes

BEST BEVERAGES: The staff at Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet in Lawrenceville is proud of the store’s new renovation, offering an even more convenient shopping experience for customers. Its excellent and comprehensive selection of wine, beer, and spirits and its knowledgeable staff have ensured the store’s success for nearly 17 years.

By Jean Stratton

Joe Canal’s, the popular discount liquor outlet, has a new look! It has undergone a major renovation offering more open space, wider aisles, more convenient accessibility, new lighting, and easier checkout options.

“We’ll be open for 17 years this November. We felt it was time for an upgrade, as the store was beginning to look dated,” says Mark Hutchinson, managing partner of Birchfield Ventures, which owns Joe Canal’s.

“Our focus is always to improve the shopping experience,” he continues. “We opened up the entry and made check-out easier. The additional space we created also enabled us to add more than 500 new wine, beer, and liquor items.”

Since its opening in the Mercer Mall, Route 1 South in Lawrenceville in November, 2001, Joe Canal’s has been a mainstay for customers in the area. In addition, readers of Town Topics have voted it “Best Liquor Store” for two straight years.

Best Staff

Mark Hutchinson is very proud of the store’s success and attributes it to three main reasons.

“We have a great location on Route 1, a high retail area. Second, our customers have been tremendously loyal, and third, we have the best staff in the liquor business. They are knowledgeable and helpful. When customers come in, they trust our recommendations. We can help guide your wine, liquor, and beer needs for all types of events, including weddings, graduations, barbecues, or dinner parties. We’ll give advice not only on the amount needed, but we’ll make appropriate recommendations for food and wine pairings.”

Indeed, whether the event is a cocktail party for 25, a dinner for six, or a wedding reception for hundreds, Joe Canal’s will provide the necessary advice, professional expertise, and quality products to make it an occasion to remember.

Shoppers certainly appreciate the shopping opportunities at the store. As one long-time area customer pointed out: “Joe Canal’s has a wonderful selection, it’s convenient, and has good prices. Why go anywhere else?”

New products are essential to attract new customers, as trends are constantly changing, points out Hutchinson. “We try to stay ahead of the trends and play close attention to what our customers are looking for.

“Our staff creates shelf talkers (notations on various bottles), which provide helpful information and their evaluations about many of the products.”

Bottle Club

In addition, continues Hutchinson, “We created the Bottle Club, which is our loyalty program, offering additional discounts and which enables us to communicate weekly with our customers.”

There is no charge to join, and this is very popular. To help customers further, an orange tag identifies which bottles are discounted.

As in most businesses, trends come and go, and this is true in the liquor business as well, he explains. “Craft beer has experienced an uptick in recent years, along with brown spirits, such as bourbon, scotch, and whiskey. In wine, rosé and sparkling have become hot categories nationally.

“Also popular, especially in the summer, is the selection of Spiked Seltzers. And one of the newest trends now is wine in a can. With choices of red, white, and sparkling, this has became another big seller.”

“Mix A Six”

Whatever the customer’s choice, he — or she (Hutchinson reports that many of the shoppers are women) — will find an amazing selection at Joe Canal’s. Aisle after aisle of wines (arranged by country), then, all the spirits, including the aforementioned bourbon, scotch, and whiskey, and rows of gin, vodka, and rum, offer customers a comprehensive display.

Beer is in a section all its own, with every possible option — from major players like Budweiser and Heineken to local craft brewers like Cape May to Kane. Not sure what you want? Joe Canal’s offers a popular “Mix A Six” section in which customers can select six different beers for easy sampling.

With more than 8,000 SKUS (units), Joe Canal’s is a resource for one-stop shopping, with all the bar and party needs in one place, points out Hutchinson. “You will find everything you need, from water and ice to mixers and supplies, such as corkscrews and martini shakers, as well as cheese and cheese slicers.”

They even have a red wine stain remover, Wine Away, and according to reports, it really works!

Special Grand Reopening

A special grand reopening to be held four days, September 27 through the 30, will be open to the public. Complimentary wine tastings, giveaways, and food will be available each day.

“I am really thankful for our customers and that they continue to see Joe Canal’s as the ‘go to’ spot for their wine, beer, and spirits,” says Hutchinson. “We appreciate their loyalty very much. We have a growing customer base, and look forward to continuing to serve them. Their knowledge and open-mindedness to try new offerings enhances the relationship with our customers.”

He adds that he is happy that his is still a “people” business; the face-to-face interaction with customers remains a pleasure.

And, as he emphasizes, “Joe Canal’s is a special place. We are set apart by our selection, prices, and customer service. No one else does it better!”

Joe Canal’s is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 9 to 7. (609) 520-0008. Website: