09 Apr Trust Your Local Expert: Craig @ Hidden Track Bottle Shop
Whomever first uttered “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” likely didn’t start patient care at 7am. None the less it helps to describe a certain type of entrepreneur. To have a passion for what you do certainly makes it easier, but why? A customer knows when they are in good hands, when they can trust a sales person, a business, etc. We seek out businesses that are passionate about what we are looking to purchase because where there is passion, there is knowledge, and an indelible set of skills that we do not ourselves possess. I call it the “trust your local expert” feeling and find it perfectly describes my relationship with many local businesses across the Valley, including wine! I like it, I enjoy it, but I do not love it. I do not want to purchase 20 bottles to find a favorite, I don’t want to search through thousands of bottles to find a single one, nor do I want to buy based on the random ratings on wine tags (Cool, I’m glad InternetGuy94 gave the wine 97 points, how does that help me?).
The retail landscape downtown is miniscule, and many of the small business owners know one another. I am fortunate enough to have a great relationship with some of our neighbors and was happy to have an opportunity to sit down with Craig, the owner of Hidden Track Bottle Shop and Café in DTPHX. Despite being in completely different industries, there’s a shocking amount of overlap, in unexpected ways to say the least. Craig has been helping me choose the perfect bottle ever since opening downtown. I trust Craig’s taste to the point of allowing him to curate the wine we serve in office. When you’ve found an expert, it pays to trust them.
I was previously a big box store shopper and I can count the bottles of wine I’ve purchased on one hand in the last decade that I liked enough to rebuy. In my never ending quest to support local (how else is PHX going to grow???) I wandered into Hidden Track, just a block from our office. Craig is insurmountably familiar with every bottle and can on his shelves, having personally tasted every single product in store prior to stocking. What does this mean for the consumer? The wines are EXCELLENT! The product knowledge is unbeatable. 9 out of 10 bottles recommended are home runs, and for the first time in my life I’m buying wine by the case, and not just because of COVID.
How are the wine and eye care industry alike? Both are dominated by large corporate chains who work primarily the price and selection angle. A large amount of wines sold to big box stores are white label products, where a brand slaps their label on the product with up to 74 added ingredients to make the wine taste the same as the previous years, and so on, and so on. In eyecare, brands license their name out to manufacturers who create the product and sell it directly. As you can imagine, artificially flavored wine doesn’t taste great and the quality of a piece from a global fashion house is far superior to what you’re buying from a chain at the mall. That’s why luxury goods often go for 10x their lower tiered licensed brand counterparts, as quality and raw materials aren’t comparable.
Craig is selective from whom he purchases product from. Working only with producers who create natural, unrefined, additive free wine. This leads to a purer product, better tasting products, and in the end, happier consumers. Similar to Craig’s passion for wine, we see and handle all products we sell in store prior to purchasing. We do not support white label or “licensed” branded products, only working directly with designers and manufactures to bring you the very best in quality and materials.
Craig is passionate about what he sells. He obsesses over the minute details that honestly, as a once a week wine drinker, I don’t necessarily understand – BUT I know that because he is so passionate about what he sells, spends so much time sourcing high quality products, and knowing exactly how they taste – I walk out with a great bottle of wine every single time. Craig is our local wine expert.
And we are your local eyewear experts, obsessing over the minute details, things you may not necessarily notice or even care about, but in the end lead to us selling better products, with better warranties, to happier customers who appreciate our obsession. Urban Eyecare is here to stoke your passion for unique and luxurious eyewear in Phoenix AZ. Make sure to cap your night off with the perfect bottle of wine from Craig. Tell him Urban Eyecare sent you – he’ll take great care of you.