New owner to take over, expand Med City liquor store
Apollo Liquors is leaving its store at 3514 55th St. N.W. at the end of the month, when its lease ends.
However, a new owner is stepping into the spot to keep it going as Northwest Liquors, which is what it has been called for the past 10 years in the space next to Gander Mountain.
Irv Keefe plans to take over as the owner and re-open the store under the same name of Northwest Liquors. He has already hired most of the current staff and the manager to stay on there.
"Customers will still see the same faces, when they come in," he says.
Construction is under way to expand the store to 6,200 square feet from its current 4,500 square feet. Look for that work to speed up after Friday, when Apollo leaves.
Keefe hopes to re-open the new version of the store by mid- to late September.
He plans to use the additional space to bring in a 60-foot, state-of-the-art cooler to expand the store's micro beer offerings. He also will add more varieties of other products and a new wine tasting area to the store.
Meanwhile, Ari Kolas has his own project in the works. He is still putting the finishing touches on the deal, so watch this column for more details in the near future.
Once Northwest Liquors closes, Apollo will have four stores in Rochester. It also has a store in Austin, where the chain was originally founded by Nick Kolas.
Keefe says while he has long worked as a distributor in the alcohol business, this is his first step into the retail side of things.
"It is something I've always wanted to do," he says. "It is a challenge. I've always liked a challenge."
With the idea of eventually opening a store somewhere, he acquired an off-sale liquor license from the city of Rochester back in March.
"There were only so many of them," Keefe explains. "So I decided to grab one while I could."
Some buzz has been going around that this new store will be linked to Rochester's Chafoulias family. They own Apollo's prime competitor, Andy's Liquor.
Not so, says Keefe. He explains that he is the owner, not the Chafoulias family.
The only connection to the Chafoulias family is that he does work for their company, Titan Development Group.