Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT Vergelegen USA!
Four questions with Eugene Havemann, founder of Vergelegen USA.
Why did you start your business?
VClub was started as a passion project by 16 South African families, living in the USA, predominantly in Westport Connecticut. During Covid, the South African Government shut down the sale of alcohol in an attempt to keep the hospitals empty. (Liquor stores, restaurants, and online were all closed).
The wine industry in particular was negatively affected, it's an industry in South Africa that employs 269,000 people, in an economy that has an unemployment rate of 32,9%, it truly is an industry that many people rely on to put food on their table for themselves and their immediate dependents. (Ratio is 1:3 in South Africa, meaning over 1,000,000 people in South Africa rely on the wine industry to survive). We researched the industry and discovered that Vergelegen Estate was being under-represented in the USA.
We presented a business plan to the owners of the Estate, and they liked what they saw. As a result, VClub was formed, specifically to represent Vergelegen Estate, the 2nd oldest (established in 1700) and possibly the most award-winning estate in South Africa.
What is your best-selling product/service?
Our best-selling Wines are our GVB Red (Bordeaux Blend) and our Chardonnay Reserve.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
We distribute our wine through a Connecticut distributor "The Wine Trust", and we partner with the following local restaurants, The Whelk, Gabrielle's, The Cottage, Nomâde's, Gray Goose, On Washington, and Blackstones.
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
At present Vergelegen Wines are only available on our Direct to Consumer website www.vclubwine.com. We are entering phase 2 of our business which involves the introduction of a more affordable sub-tier brand "Rocky Lands by Vergelegen", and launching our national distribution strategy.
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!