When George Trease bought a public house from a Mr Weaver at the turn of the last century, he didn't wish the family name to be associated with booze and so kept the existing name. The business is now an exclusive wine merchant, Weavers of Nottingham, that operates from a Georgian town house in the city. 'Historically, we have wanted to remain small and have a good reputation in the Midlands,' says director Philip Trease, grandson of George. But as the 21st century dawned, the Treases thought it time to go online.
The web site, www.weaverswine.co.uk, reflects the standards of a small, traditional family business. 'It was all done in-house, with no fancy programming,' says Trease. It was updated in May 2002 and new features include a members' page of exclusive offers; a food-and-wine matching service; and a 'snippet' box highlighting rare and sought-after tipples, such as Alain des Arbres champagne and Highfield Estate wine from New Zealand.
Visitor numbers, now at just over 15,000, are rising by 10% a month.
'People spend more per transaction online than in the shop, and orders have exceeded forecasts by 20%,' says Trease, who now receives them worldwide. Expert advice is available via e-mail or phone, and customers' order trends can be checked manually.
'You can personalise a web site as much as you like,' explains Trease, 'but it doesn't replace human intervention.'