Wine shops are figuring out how to manage whiny children, reports Kathleen Lucadamo in The Wall Street Journal (3/11/14). At Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, it’s a simple matter of setting up "a children’s table covered with chalkboard, a bookshelf with toddler books, Lego blocks and other toys." "Kids are people and if you give them something meaningful to do, their parents will be able to relax," says owner Tom Geniesse. "We all remember being dragged around by our parents. Now kids cry when they have to leave."
Tom says he set up the play area when he opened his first store in 2006, and added one to his newest store in Westport, Conn. "I don’t care if a kid breaks a bottle, but I do care that it’s a great experience for the whole family," he says. Kevin Fitzgerald of Shawn Fine Wine & Spirits also has a "wood table and chairs for the pint-size set along with coloring books and crayons." "It’s worked tremendously," he says. "It’s like a chair for guys in a women’s store where they can come in and relax."
At Bottles & Cases, the trick is to give kids a lollipop. "Kids call us the ‘lollipop store’ because they don’t realize what their parent are buying," says general manager Mark Herman. Nancy Friedman, a mom and blogger, finds this disturbing. "It’s not going to turn them into an alcoholic," she says, "but certain places are best kept for the adult part of your life and this is one of them." Bottlerocket customer Dale Riedl disagrees, saying, "Alcohol is part of our society and there is no hiding it from our children."