Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016

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 38 of 71

January/February 2016 • Beverage Dynamics 39 LIQUOR BARN Family Tree Jack Yunger (Founder; Deceased) Mike Yunger (Owner) Nick Yunger "For a mom-and-pop store, we do well," Mike says. "We're close to $2 million a year in sales." He said that strong revenue doesn't only come from high- priced collectible wine, but great service and strong commu- nity ties. The ability to absorb volume doesn't hurt either. "We're competitive, but we're not as big as the big boys. But we're really close," Mike says. "We're big enough to buy the volume, and overhead is low so we don't have to work with the margins that some smaller stores have to work on." As for community involvement, the Yungers are ingrained in the community through the Chamber of Commerce, as well as sponsorships of various local intramural teams. "We know a lot of people on a fi rst-name basis," says Nick, who returned from college with a fi nance degree to help run the store. Most everyone that comes into the store arrives with a, "Hey, Mike" or, "How's it going Nick?" and it's been that way for a long, long time. "We have a lot of repeat customers," Mike says. "They've been coming here for decades." Neither Mike nor Nick had an aversion to coming back to the family business after college, though both had diff erent ideas while they were in college. Mike worked in an offi ce for a spell before coming home to the Liquor Barn, and Nick thought he would be wearing a suit and tie after graduation. "I had a fi nance degree and I was thinking I'd get a desk job at some fi rm," Nick says. "But I started working here right after college full-time and didn't want to leave." G E N E R A T I O N A L C H A N G E Founder Jack Yunger, sadly, passed in mid-2015. But he set up the store for success over his decades in the business. The most notable business decision was buying a lot and con- structing a new building in 1985. That smart decision de- creased the capital-intensive rental budget and brought in a stream of tenants, from a video store to a Chinese restaurant. Mike, who bought his father out when he retired 10 years ago, is hoping to get even more involved in wine and cut down the crowd at the main store. "I've got a vacant spot next door that is 1,000 square feet," he says. "I'm going to turn that into a tasting room and have some individual tastings over there, so it's not so crowded over here." Once that project is done, he said he will think more about winding down as 27-year-old Nick Yunger grows into the lead position. He says the store will defi nitely stay in the family. "We're a ways from having to worry about that," Nick adds. "But I defi nitely see it continuing into the fourth generation." Nicholas Upton is a journalist in the restaurant and hospitality industry covering emerging concepts, tracking fi nancing and chasing the entre- preneurial spirit. He's based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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