Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics NovDec 2018

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 14 of 57

Moreno's Liquor November/December 2018• Beverage Dynamics 15 "We've wanted to do online sales for a while, but the state of Illinois makes it very challenging," the younger Moreno says. "Legally, we are unable to ship outside the state, which hurts us a little bit. With our unique selection of products, we think we have a lot to offer out-of-state customers. But we need to work within the legalities, and hopefully the state laws will eventually shift to allow us to expand into a broader online market." By far the biggest project currently in the works is the con- struction underway in the store to build a bar. The Moreno fam- ily plans to apply for a dual license and focus on serving unique craft beers and cocktails. "This will allow us to create a space in Little Village to gather, socialize and experience some really great crafts and cocktails," the younger Moreno says. "Hopefully it will also help bring in some tourism to the neighborhood as well." The bar, which the Moreno's plan to call Osito's Tap, will be named for the younger Moreno's chihuahua, who is a reg- ular fixture of the store. A soft launch of the bar is planned for late winter 2019, with an official grand opening to follow in the spring. This new venture was made possible because the store was named a recipient of the City of Chicago's Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant, which supports small-business propos- als designed to strengthen the commercial corridors of the city's South, Southwest and West Sides. "The small business grant is what really made this possible," the younger Moreno says. "The city really wants small busi- nesses to step up and enhance their communities. Little Village is a thriving Latino community in Chicago, and my family and I are very excited to contribute to our community in this way." ALL IN THE FAMILY Business is thriving and Moreno's Liquors is moving in several exciting new directions. But does this unique family dynamic ever get in the way of doing good business? The resounding answer is, absolutely not. The Moreno family divides up responsibilities at the store. Mike Sr. is the chief executive officer, and Rose manages the bookkeeping and administrative paperwork. As for Mike Jr., he currently serves as vice president and oversees the store's mar- keting, along with the craft beer and spirits selections. All three family members spend a lot of time on the store floor interacting with customers, sharing their knowledge and giving people one- on-one time with the store owners, which the Morenos believe leads to a positive and authentic experience for their guests. The younger Moreno recalls how he grew up helping out around the store, and always knew that he would eventually con- tribute to the business on a full-time basis. "I've been training to take over the store my whole life," he says. "I wanted to get the most well-rounded understanding of the industry as I could. Before coming to work here full-time, I worked for Wirtz Beverage, I got a degree in business manage- ment and entrepreneurial studies from DePaul University, and I got experience working in the areas of event management, web- site design and marketing. This is what I always knew I would do, and I came into this role at a young age, but I've spent my entire life preparing for it." Parents and son working alongside each other on a daily basis hasn't resulted in a stressful work atmosphere. On the contrary, it's the Moreno's collective passion for their busi- ness, the industry and the products that make the store such a unique destination. "Passion and quality are by far the two most important things in this business," the elder Moreno says. "Not just in this business, either. They're the two most important charac- teristics of any business in any industry in this country. We are constantly tapping into the passion we have for this business to bring in the best possible products and create a great expe- rience for our customers." BD The Moreno family divides up responsibilities. Mike Sr. (top) is CEO, his wife Rose manages bookkeeping and administrative paperwork, and their son Mike Jr. (bottom) serves as VP and oversees marketing. "CUSTOMERS REALLY APPRECIATE THE PERSONAL INTERACTION WITH THE OWNERS. IT HELPS US BUILD SALES." – Mike Moreno, Jr.

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