Star Liquor RIP

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades
david cohen
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Star Liquor RIP

Postby david cohen » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:55 pm

There's a lot of competition in the East Side alcohol market, but one less locally owned/operated store now:( Some will blame the Willy St Coop having beer and wine sales, others will blame Festival Foods. I think it's the entire market at play here. Bottle shops on Atwood, Woodmans, Trixies, growlers, they all get a piece of a really big market and somehow, Star just couldn't compete. I'm sure there are other details I'm not privy to as well. Still:(

gargantua
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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby gargantua » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:39 pm

I'm really sorry to see it go. There really is a lot more competition, so I think it's a mistake to pin the blame on any single competitor.

Goober McTuber
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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Goober McTuber » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:06 am

The coop was a big factor. Someone at Star told me that one of the biggest hits was losing the coop employee business. When the coop started talking about getting a liquor license, I heard that not only was the neighborhood opposed, but so was a significant portion of their membership. I no longer shop at the coop for this very reason.

Beard
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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Beard » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:35 am

Goober McTuber wrote:The coop was a big factor. Someone at Star told me that one of the biggest hits was losing the coop employee business. When the coop started talking about getting a liquor license, I heard that not only was the neighborhood opposed, but so was a significant portion of their membership. I no longer shop at the coop for this very reason.


I find the “the coop closed Star” argument hard to believe. The coop’s beer section is tiny and if you’re looking for anything beyond Fantasy Factory or One Barrel Commuter, you’re likely out of luck. Same goes for wine.

The coop likely played a small part but I think that Festival carries more of the blame (if blame is the right word). They have a complete liquor department and have competitive pricing.

That said, I was one of the coop members that was, and am, opposed to the sale of alcohol at the Willy location. Nothing against alcohol, I just thought that it wasn’t very neighborly to Star and that the shelf space in an already cramped store could be better used for other items. I still shop at the coop but I don’t buy alcohol there.

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Bwis53 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:06 am

Star Liquor on Madison's Williamson Street closes
http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/st ... c2cf8.html
Looks like a lotta competition. I hope a good local business gets that store site. I can't afford to shop much at the Coop.

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Cadfael » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:36 am

We don't buy much liquor so we were infrequent customers at Star but we bought lots of tickets to local events there. And it was fun to cruise past when Great Taste of the Midwest tickets went on sale. Every now and then a bottle of gin or Honey Liqueur.

Gonna miss that place. Tried to patronize Brew and Grow but they were pretty specialized. I walked past there daily, sometimes two or three times and never saw a whole lot of customers even when there were classes, so the only surprise for me was that they lasted as long as they did.

But losing Star is a big deal. I am angry with the Coop for that and I'm going to tell them.

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby jman111 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:44 am

I wonder how much of this type of feedback will show up in the Reader.

david cohen
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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby david cohen » Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:56 pm

Star Liquor was a Madison favorite. Hell, my son in LA called this morning to ask if I'd heard that Star closed. I guess that was his go to place when he was at East High;)

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby snoqueen » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:43 pm

I'm sorry Star closed, but it's hard running a little business when your competition is huge. I don't think it was the Coop that did it. I think it was more like everything at once. It's reasonable to think the larger competitors like Festival Foods took the biggest bite. I hardly believe the Coop's one little rack of beer/wine did the job all by itself. That's not logical.

Does anyone know if Star's rent suddenly went way up?

Is the small liquor store in the 800 block of E. Johnson still open?

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:04 pm

They couldn't have gotten a lot of non-neighborhood business with the parking situation. I wouldn't even consider pulling into that little narrow lot with my truck. Festival seems too far away to have mattered. Meh, what do I know.

I tend towards Harley's on Monona Dr. No lack of business there. Not sure how they've gotten away with the obvious trademark infringement....

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Cadfael » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:56 pm

Josh Swentzel has posted the following on his facebook page:
"Currently, myself and potential partners are intending to lease the storefront, and re open an affordable quality neighborhood Spirits, Wine & Beer store."

It's a fairly long post. They are hoping they can reopen as Star Liquor just because nobody wants the name to go away.

But now it looks like this might be a change, not a loss.

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Beard » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:50 am

narcoleptish wrote:They couldn't have gotten a lot of non-neighborhood business with the parking situation. I wouldn't even consider pulling into that little narrow lot with my truck. Festival seems too far away to have mattered. Meh, what do I know.

I tend towards Harley's on Monona Dr. No lack of business there. Not sure how they've gotten away with the obvious trademark infringement....


I agree that Festival is far away for someone on foot but not in a car.

Parking is definitely an issue for Star during the "coming home from work" time of day when there's no street parking on that side of Willy. I know that I've driven past rather than using the small lot or trying to find side street parking. On occasion I've stopped at the coop for things and then walked over to Star but I always feel like an outlaw doing that with the "coop customer only signs" in the coop lot.

I think that Festival gets a big part of the "coming home from work" crowd because of the easy parking.

I stop by Harley's from time to time when I need something last minute. They have a nice selection and the prices seem fair.

Beard
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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Beard » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:55 am

Cadfael wrote:Josh Swentzel has posted the following on his facebook page:
"Currently, myself and potential partners are intending to lease the storefront, and re open an affordable quality neighborhood Spirits, Wine & Beer store."

It's a fairly long post. They are hoping they can reopen as Star Liquor just because nobody wants the name to go away.

But now it looks like this might be a change, not a loss.


I'm not on Facebook, do you mind posting the whole post? (assuming that isn't violating some sort of Facebook etiquette).


I really hope to see Star stay open in some form.

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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby snoqueen » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:17 am

narcoleptish wrote:I tend towards Harley's on Monona Dr. No lack of business there. Not sure how they've gotten away with the obvious trademark infringement....


They have a reasonable selection of beer and plenty of parking if you need it. Plus bait.

Harley's is walking distance from my whole neighborhood and we all go there. No Woodmans for us.

Beer and a public library? What more could you ask?

I wonder if there used to be a real Harley who owned it. You get to use your own name for a business, after all. Whoever he was, I think he's gone now. I can't remember when that store wasn't there -- it goes way back.

Cadfael
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Re: Star Liquor RIP

Postby Cadfael » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:35 pm

Beard wrote:I'm not on Facebook, do you mind posting the whole post? (assuming that isn't violating some sort of Facebook etiquette).

I'm not sure if it violates any laws or etiquette but what the hell. Turns out it was actually on someone else's facebook page but signed by Josh. It makes me nervous to put anyone's email address on a forum so I'm going to leave that out.
Hey friends and neighbors,

The cat is sneaking out of the bag so here is some information / clarification.

You probably have heard Star Liquor has closed it’s doors. This has, as expected, saddened many patrons, past and present employees and residents of the neighborhood who have been lucky enough to be a part of such a great neighborhood establishment.

My first real introduction to Madison was working in Star Liquor for many years. Jerry and the team at Star brought me an immeasurable bank of knowledge of the Wine / Spirits / Beer industry locally and worldwide. It’s how I was introduced to most of the people that I still know today. The Near East side quickly became my new home.

It goes without saying that I wouldn’t have any of the current opportunities or relationships I have today had it not been for my time there.

During my stint at Star Liquor, the staff’s knowledge was relied on a hundred times daily to help figure out what customers would be drinking with dinner. The wine selection was tremendous, the spirits selection was approachable and widely varied, and the beer selection was a wonderful reflection of the craft beer explosion that had just really started to take place.

A conversation and opportunity arose in the past month or so for myself to try to revitalize these rare and treasured qualities back to the neighborhood.

Currently, myself and potential partners are intending to lease the storefront, and re open an affordable quality neighborhood Spirits, Wine & Beer store.

It is currently unclear if there is a capacity to remain as Star Liquor, a name and brand with a wonderful history and much sentimental value. Hopefully we will have an answer to that in the coming weeks as this next chapter is finalized. Currently we are negotiating lease terms and beginning the Neighborhood Approval and City Licensing process.

If you have any questions, feel free to message me here, or email me at ************, and I will do my best to answer them as soon as I can.

I look forward to serving you all at 1209 once again!

Josh Swentzel


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