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Hidden Gems: Meet Sky Sunner of Happy Place Craft Beer Wine & Spirits

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sky Sunner.

Hi Sky, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Growing up in family of immigrants & entrepreneurs, I was always intrigued with business. At a young age, I looked to create opportunities for myself. I saw my older brother start his own mini candy empire in High School. I watched as he purchased candy at wholesale for .25 cents and then sold it for double at .50 cents. So I kept my eyes and ears open. Looking for my opportunity.

When I saw my cousin Hank selling cds to his friends it created so much curiosity. I watched as he was selling them for $7 – $10 a cd and learned later he was purchasing them at a wholesale cost for $5 each. Then I thought wait if my brother can make $300 a month on selling candies for .50 Imagine what I could make selling cds for $10 at the same margin. At that point I knew I needed to get in on this gig.

I connected with my older cousin Gin, who was wholesaling the cds at $5 and told him I can move his cds and quickly. Eventually, he gave me a crate of them. Within the school week, I came back to him with an empty crate and his money. This happened over and over until It got to the point that his wholesale cds couldn’t keep up with the demand I had created. I had branded myself as the kid that sold cds.

I had a things passion for people at a young age and really listened to my customers, their feedback was important. I often heard them say, “I only liked three songs on that cd… Many of my customers wanted the top songs not the whole albums. I took notes on their concerns, as my supply was running dry I looked for other options. Then one day, I went to price Club now named Costco. I looked in the computer department because I heard they just started carrying a device that could duplicate and customize my own cds.

When I saw the price tag of $2,000 for a 2x speed CD burner, I started doing the math. The one class that made sense to me. It was clear that my return on the investment would be at most two months. At that point, I understood how important it was that I had been saving my money. Being a 16 years old kid with 4 thousand in savings all from my Cd hustle it became clear. I was solving two problems in one!

Power of marketing and creating my own mixes was a special lesson, it allowed me to sell my own cds at a higher margin and created customer satisfaction. I was creating “Now Hits” before it existed.

To this day, I have customers of my Bottle Shop Happy Place Wine & Spirits tell my employees about how they used to but cds from me and how now they buy Craft beer and specialty spirits from me. I created Ventura County’s #1 Craft Beer store simply by using similar methods as I did my mini Cd empire. Every business To this day was created from finding gaps between what was available and what the customers wanted.

Creating Value and an experience was very important to me. I understood what big brands did, they created a demand by making us feel good about being associated to their brands. So I went on a journey to take a small mom and pop diamond in the right into the shining piece of jewelry it is today. It wasn’t easy, I had my trials and tribulations. But I had patience and had support of the most amazing mother Happy.

Happy (My mom) was my biggest supporter. She believed in me so much that it was impossible for me not to believe in myself. Recently I was stuck in a dilemma, my business name at the time was Sam’s Saticoy Liquor, a brand name I built over 15 years was not a brand I could grow. I had to rebrand, I had to find a better name, something that had meaning, something I could put anywhere not just in Saticoy, CA.

As I read this amazing review on Yelp, one thing stood out…. the review said “this is my Happy Place”. At that moment, I knew… I was going to rebrand to Happy Place Craft Beer Wine & Spirits. This was my Happy Place! I loved coming to work and sharing some of the world’s hardest to find and delicious Craft Beers with my customers.

Today we are working on a new 8k square ft building to expand and move our store in. This 3-acre mixed-use development located in east Ventura/ Saticoy has been a dream project of mine. In all my experiences in businesses, I have learned many things, one that stands out the most is never allow someone’s opinion of what they can do influence what you expect out of yourself.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The struggles have been what allowed me to grow into becoming a better business owner, father & Husband. It’s in the battles you loose that make you a better warrior. I believe the struggles within myself were the hardest to overcome. When changing one’s perspective and changing one’s own views can become the biggest battle.

It’s hard to get to your destination when you are following the wrong map. It’s as simple as adding the right address with the wrong city. Refining one’s plan even if it conflicts with your original plan, the ability to recalculate your route is very important.

Having love, passion, and dedication isn’t simple enough to cook the recipe to success. First step was being able to look deep into myself and admit to myself, “I was wrong. Only then could I begin making the adjustments to the recipe of success.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Happy Place Craft Beer Wine & Spirits offers an incredible selection of the coldest craft beers, Cigars, Wines, Spirits and the best Beef Jerky, period. Our fun & homely environment and knowledgeable team members are extremely friendly and personable. Our goal is to provide our customers the best shopping experience possible. Best of all, you can have it delivered right to your house, servicing Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Santa Paula, Somis & now shipping directly from our Mobile App (Happy Place Craft Beer & Website

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck is interesting, my mentor was on my podcast Sippin With Sky, and he said it best… if you want to score in life, you have to make sure you are wearing a uniform, inside the stadium, wearing the right shoes, and kicking the ball toward the goal. Luck comes to those who are prepared to accept it. I am fortunate to be on the soccer field, in full uniform and kicking towards the goal.

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