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Meet Talmadge Lowe and Chris Harris of Hi-Lo Liquor Market in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Talmadge Lowe and Chris Harris.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Talmadge and Chris. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The story begins with Chris and I grilling in the backyard while sipping cocktails. We reflected on how moments like this – exhaling the day with good friends, good food and good drinks – were worth celebrating, even in a small way. Thus began a conversation about how to facilitate that in such a busy, demanding world. That conversation ended with Hi-Lo.

We wanted to create a store curated with a spectrum of unique and approachable options that felt bright and open and welcoming. Something that the neighborhood would embrace, not just as a go-to for a quick dinner party wine or a cool whiskey gift, but as place they could bring the kids for a snack or get the eggs they forgot at the grocery.
We added a beer and wine bar to the store partly as a place to experience the ever-changing landscape of new beer and wine, but also as a convenient place to gather some friends from work or the neighborhood for casual night out. We think of ourselves as the new and modern neighborhood bodega.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
All in all, it has been relatively smooth road. I know we’ve seen some friends struggle mightily, so we are grateful. But you are also talking to two guys who have never run a retail, let alone a liquor, store before. So, our learning curve was steep. Like figuring out how to keep an accurate inventory with so many new and seasonal products moving through our doors!

In some – maybe a lot – of ways, our inexperience turned out be an asset. We weren’t tied to any preconceived notions of what to carry, so we carried the products we loved (turns out the neighborhood loved them, too). We weren’t biased in who/how to hire, so we hired people we liked and taught them about the store, and ended up with a staff of neighbors and friends. We are opening a second location in Long Beach later this year and are looking forward to applying our new found knowledge there.

Hi-Lo Liquor Market – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Hi-Lo takes a familiar model – the dark and dusty neighborhood liquor store – and spins it into something new. To begin, the store itself is unlike any liquor store you’ve seen: bright and open, clean and organized – it truly feels warm and welcoming. We have the most amazing staff – friendly and knowledgable, and really there to help and provide a great experience to every customer.

Our selection of beer and wine and spirits may be the best part: we look for the newest product, the crafty maker, the unique (and delicious) flavors – things we love and want to share – and carry those. But, we also carry a lot of familiar and beloved products for our neighborhood regulars – like Modelo Tall Boys, which are our best seller! Finally, our market. We carry fresh pressed juices, vegan queso, gourmet potato chips, decadent chocolates as well as sandwiches and good ol’ Diet Coke. We strive to have something for everyone.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
That’s pretty simple. Success means happy customers in a bustling store. If we have contributed in making your day or week a little better, we have succeeded.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nikki Sebastian Photography, Ashley Kelemen Photography

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