“Fat Bastard.” “Skinny Girl.” “Cupcake.” No, those aren’t insults or slightly off-color terms of endearment. They are just some of the brands one could see while chuckling down the aisles at Banks Wines & Spirits in Millville, which — like any other 10-year-old — is bursting at the seams with excitement and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next decade. They even marked their 10-year anniversary on Feb. 13 with a party and celebration.
For locals, or anyone who has been in the area for more than a decade, Banks has become a constant — in place along Route 26 in Millville even before Giant or Fox’s Pizza, or any of the many financial institutions nearby. For locals who have been in the area longer, it sits where a local family once lived, and the nearby Giant is now where a long lane once led to a farmhouse. Both houses were moved and still exist today, but the area has exploded with growth since then.
“It’s been interesting,” explained Kami Banks, who manages the store with her brother Ted. “My parents took a big leap of faith, and the locals really embraced us.”
She said they always try to keep the atmosphere in the store fun, and they try to stay up on the trends. She credited their relationship with their customer base for their success.
“I think we have done a good job of listening to the locals and what people want and what they are interested in.”
She said that, when they first opened the store, her parents were excited about the prospect of having at least one day each week off, as they had been busy seven days a week in their respective professions before opening the store — but then came Sunday liquor sales in Delaware, which became legal in the spring of 2003.
“Their break was short-lived,” she said jokingly. “After it passed, we first only opened in the summer on Sundays, but there was enough of an interest to go ahead and do it [year-round],” she explained.
Over the years, Banks has expanded their selection to include everything from African wines to craft beer made right in nearby Milton. They carry local products from 16 Mile in Georgetown, Twin Lakes in Greenville and Fordham in Dover. They also have a few wines from Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes and some regional wines, as well, in addition to their massive selection of spirits from around the world.
Along with supporting local breweries and wineries, they have teamed up with local restaurants in the off-season to market certain wines, with special pairings and pricing, and working with local chefs. Banks said that “wasn’t even something we were thinking about,” but with growth came the opportunity. They also do their share of community service, she noted.
“We did a benefit for the [Millville] fire company, and we do a lot with Justin’s Beach House,” she said, emphasizing that they wanted to give back to the community that has embraced them.
In addition, they have two “Wild Wine Weeks” each year. The next one is right around the corner. During the week of March 16-23, they will be offering 20 percent off cases of wine, with daily tastings.
“It’s a good time to come and stock up for the summer season!” said Banks. Their second “Wild Wine Week” is the third week in September each year.
For more information, or to wish them “Happy Birthday,” visit Banks Wines & Spirits at 38014 Town Center Drive in Millville or online at www.bankswinesand