23 May Delivering something unique at Alexander Hadleigh
Delivering something unique at Alexander Hadleigh
Del Taylor knows you have to stay ahead of the game to offer the very best – and that’s why Alexander Hadleigh in Locks Heath has been the go-to independent merchant for fine wine and spirits for the last 50 years.
Offering everything from vegan wine to gins and preserves produced on the doorstep and great tasting notes on every bottle of wine in store, the business has adapted through the decades to keep up with demand.
Founded by Del and Graham Taylor in 1972, Alexander Hadleigh first started supplying select customers before setting up as a limited company in 1984 and selling wholesale to restaurants and hotels.
As the business developed, Del and Graham decided to open a wine shop in Locks Heath shopping centre in July 2000 – and have been trading from there ever since.
Stocking one of the most extensive ranges of alcohol across Southampton, the award-winning Alexander Hadleigh offers fine wines, local gins, vodkas, rums, and whiskys, as well as liqueurs, brandy and fortified wines.
Del likes to stock as many local products as possible, extending from Hampshire through to Sussex and Dorset.
“We have a massive range of local products,” says Del. “These are great to include in our ready-made and bespoke hampers, which we make up with anything from English wines and spirits to chutneys, pates, specialist jams, curds and marmalades.
“We are well known for our malt whisky and have branched out to include English ones as well – we sell a lovely one from Yorkshire.
“We change our displays frequently to show off different produce. For example recently, we have had a big focus on riojas and vegan wines. We tend to update our displays and top recommendations based on the season.”
Del and her two local members of staff are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate – there are comprehensive tasting notes underneath everything on the shelves.
“We have a very tactile shop,” she says. “People like to see the wines – they pick up the bottles and look at the labels. People can go to supermarkets, but generally there’s nobody there to tell them what to drink with a particular course at a dinner party.
“We have lots of people who come in and say, I’m having this, what do you suggest? That’s what we’re good at. It’s very nice when people come back and tell you that what you’ve recommended is perfect!
“We have a wine club, which is free to join. Members get discounts and are invited to tastings. We haven’t been able to have those for the last two years, but we’re looking to reinstate them in one way or another.”
Lockdown was an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but Del adapted by expanding the shop’s free delivery service to keep the link with her customer base.
“It kept us so busy – at one stage I would close the shop at five and then do two hours of delivery on my way home!
“It was about reinventing ourselves for that period, and although many have gone back to their old ways, a lot of people have stayed loyal.
“Our customers like to come in, have a chat, and choose something personally. It really is so much better than just shopping online.”
To find out more about what Alexander Hadleigh has in store, check out their socials: