Mega-liquor store also has Wahoo Meats products, a bar
Fremont shoppers have a new place to go for their favorite beers, wines and liquors.
Wine, Beer & Spirits and Wahoo Meats has been open in the old Wooden Windmill location on South Broad Street/U.S. Highway 77 since late August, and has had great success, store officials reported.
Aaron Konen, chief financial officer and one of the co-owners of Wine, Beer & Spirits, said in an interview with the Tribune on Oct. 13 that sales and reception of the new Fremont location of the rapidly growing franchise have both been great.
The new Fremont location is the fifth store the company has opened in Nebraska since the first store opened in Omaha in April of 2020, Konen said. There is also a second location in Omaha, as well as stores in Lincoln and Grand Island. Most are located in former Toys ‘R’ Us storefronts that have been repurposed, he said.
Konen said one goal of the company is to immerse customers in nostalgia, which he said is done in part by locating stores in old Toys ‘R’ Us locations, and in Fremont inside the former Windmill location.
“We’ve been having a lot of success at our Grand Island store. We could easily differentiate ourselves there. We are getting a lot of momentum there,” Konen said. “It is a similar situation to the Wooden Windmill (in Fremont). There is a ton of local nostalgia there.”
Wine, Beer & Spirits sells hundreds of brand names of wine, domestic and craft beers and assorted hard liquors and spirits. The store is not just alcohol, as Konen explained, the business has partnered with Wahoo Locker — also called Wahoo Meats — to sell scores of the Saunders County meat producer’s products.
“Wahoo Locker has a brand that exceeds its one location. The came in to partner with us and it is an added convenience for our customers,” Konen said. “We’ve been doing a $5 special at our bar where, for $5, a customer gets a Wahoo skinless wiener, chips and a drink. It is a good, economical meal and also showcases their products.”
Along with the alcohol and Wahoo Locker meat products, Wine, Beer & Spirits also sells kitchen and cooking tools and implements, offers a sit-down bar area in which sports games are broadcast for customers and also sells dozens of Wahoo Locker spice rubs and seasoning mixes.
Konen said the goal of Wine, Beer & Spirits ownership group is to both provide a wide selection of products, but also a fun, community atmosphere. In the coming months, the store will begin to offer whiskey tastings, beer tastings and also be adding “games of skill,” which are gambling machines. Plans for a new outdoor beer patio are in the works, too, with a goal of having that area open by spring of 2024.
“We have a wide selection of a lot of things you won’t see at other stores in town,” Konen noted of the vast amount of unique wines, craft beers and liquor brands. “We are planning to build a beer patio and also trying to figure out getting some food trucks to park in the parking lot near the store. Business has exceeded our expectations. Everyone in town knows of it now. We’ve had a lot of customers.”
Part of the attraction to the new store and bar space is that old-time nostalgia of the Wooden Windmill, Konen said.
“Our stores in Omaha and Lincoln are in old Toys ‘R’ Us storefronts. They are places where generations of families had shopped for presents for Christmas for years. We play on that nostalgia,” he said. “People who come into the store have fun.”
The old Wooden Windmill building had been closed for many years when the owners of Wine, Beer & Spirits purchased it. Konen said the ownership group worked hard to fully renovate and modernize the space, and has also added in rooftop solar panels and other environmentally friendly features.
“People say we are the greenest liquor store in America. We have solar panels that help us generate our own electricity. We have a robust recycling policy and effort,” Konen said. “That is something I think is cool.”
Wine, Beer & Spirits will also soon have a app that allows online orders to be made, which when up and running, will feature home delivery into the Fremont community, Konen noted.
The new store is located at 1155 S. Broad St., Fremont, and is open the following hours: Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.