WINE WORLD and Spirits is the creation of David LeClaire, a 25 year Seattle resident who for years envisioned opening the largest wine store in the Northwest. His vision is now reality, and Wine World opened December 1st and has surpassed all expectations.
David is a certified sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and the founder of Wine Events & Promotions, as well as the founder of the two largest wine clubs in the Northwest, Seattle Uncorked & Portland Uncorked. While traveling throughout the U.S. producing wine events, David visited many large wine stores and knew Seattle would be the perfect city for just such a store. Believing location is everything, he wanted the right place to be central to downtown Seattle, have freeway visibility, easy access, plenty of free parking, and an event space with a view.
In 2006, David identified the old University Hotel as his ideal space, but the space was quickly rented to Office Max. The dream was put on hold until the summer of 2009, when the space surprisingly became available. David got the ball rolling to capture his ultimate dream space, creating the business plan, securing the opening of Wine World in just six weeks.
The road to actually opening WINE WORLD was extremely bumpy, with challenges every step of the way. A weak economy meant investors were reluctant to invest in just about anything. The 23,000 square foot space was empty, uninviting and many found it difficult to visualize how this large, cold space could sell enough wine to make it profitable. Wanting to open for the 2010 Holiday season, David worked simultaneously to secure the funds needed as he negotiated a lease, taking a leap of faith the money would come. Just as lease negotiations came close to an agreement, Wal-Mart entered the picture, wanting David’s ultimate space for a Trader Joe’s knock-off called Marketside. After two months of being in limbo, David was finally given the green light to lease the space IF he could come up with the rest of the money needed by September 2010. David beat Goliath, securing the remaining funds and lease, making WINE WORLD a reality.
Believing it crucial to launch the store in December, David quickly assembled a team and got the construction underway. His first hire was his Operations Manager, Lenny Redé, whom he had worked with at the Painted Table restaurant 15 years earlier. Lenny was currently teaching at Cordon Bleu and South Seattle Community College. Lenny met David to tour the space and immediately saw the vision, gave notice and started working along with David, 16 hours a day. Together they hired the rest of the team, created systems needed, and did most of the physical labor needed to transform the space. Lenny has been instrumental in orchestrating the “experience” WINE WORLD has become.
Tracy Emory, a long-time friend of David, stepped in to help with the development of the store, burning the midnight oil when not working for Microsoft. Hundreds of hours were spent by Tracy solving problems and doing the glamour-less jobs that needed to get done. About the time she needed to focus solely on her real job, the team brought on Marcella Gomez, a wine enthusiast who came by to say hello to Lenny covered in grape juice after helping crush grapes for a local winery. She quickly jumped both feet in and began where Tracy left off, and the rest is history.
The four hired the remaining 12 staff members, and through a lot of sweat, blood, and bad pizza finished the massive endeavor of opening the largest wine store in Seattle in only two months. An amazing array of friends helped paint, clean, and do jobs to help save money along the way. The searchlights were flipped on and red carpet rolled out as the 23,000 square foot store was opened on time December 1st with a Grand Opening for 400 friends and family, followed the next night by a public opening event featuring 20 local wineries and 1500 attendees.
Wine World is now offering a special program to help you recycle your corks! Bring your real corks in and help us “Put a Cork In Global Warming!” This is partnership with the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance.
WINE WORLD is continuing to grow and expand their range of wines, cheeses, chocolates, and gifts. Come by and support the locally owned superstore, the only one of its’ kind in the Northwest, and raise a toast to the vision and determination of a few hard working people who also love wine and have brought you not just an incredible selection but also a sensory experience you won’t soon forget.