By Doug Cunningham, Contributor
Spirit World had called Pacific Street home for some time, but now Aksarben has taken over that title. The decision was made in mid-June and came into fruition in early November.
“We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, and the business has evolved over the years. We knew we would have to continue to evaluate what we are doing and be open to making changes to stay successful,” said Laurie Wolford, owner of Spirit World.
The move to Aksarben Village has been an excellent opportunity for us to examine every aspect of our business, from the physical appearance to how things function, and make changes that improve upon the experience we offer our customers.”
Conveniently, the new store isn’t far from the old one. Old customers can still make a trip to Spirit World without much trouble. Also, with Aksarben being such an up-and-coming area, do-anything kind of place, Spirit World has seen some new faces.
“I’m not a big drinker but if I wanted something a little different or special, Spirit World is in the perfect location for me,” said Dan Wright, a UNO student.
That mentality seems to be showing through at Spirit World.
“We’re lucky that a lot of our regular customers have followed us to our new location. We have also seen a lot of new faces ,with so many people living and working in the Aksarben area that have discovered Spirit World,” Wolford said.
With the upcoming Ralston Arena opening, things may only get busier for Aksarben.
“I’ve been to a few tastings there,” said Leslie Dennings, UNO student. “I’m sure I’ll go there after events at the new arena.”
When the new arena opens, it will potentially give a boost to the already thriving Aksarben Village.
“We think it will be a great place for people to grab a quick bite to eat before an event, and to stop in for a beer, a glass of wine or a whiskey afterwards,” Wolford said.
Moving an entire store sets the scene for some changes.
“We changed the layout of the food counter from a grocery store deli-style layout to a more upscale, fast casual format, which also helps us be more efficient and reduce food waste,” Wolford said.
Spirit World has taken full advantage of the move by also adding several new options.
“The most significant elements we added are the Whiskey and Wine Tasting Bar, where customers can get beer and wines by the glass, and whiskey by the peg, dram and flight, and the Private Tasting Room. Our Private Tasting Room seats up to 20 people and allows us the opportunity to have private tasting events and reserve the room for private parties,” Wolford said.
We’ve been offering a more hands-on experience to our customers in recent years, offering samples of products they were interested in and hosting regular tasting events. But our setting didn’t seem to match what we were offering,” Wolford said.
It looks like Aksarben may hold a bright future for Spirit World.
“It’s a fun, vibrant area that is growing and evolving, which is exactly how we see our business. It just felt like a perfect fit for us as we look ahead to the next 40 years of Spirit World,” Wolford said.