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 40 of 71

A D A P T A T I O N A N D S U R V I V A L A business can't remain open for eight decades without innovation, setback or changing of the guard. The fi rst major transformation at Peco's was in 1942. Joseph decided to close the store's small delicatessen and focus solely on selling spirits and beer. When he passed in 1954, Frances took over of the business. Eventually, Peco's came under the control of her and Joseph's daughter, Rita. Rita's husband, Frank Gazzillo, left his bricklaying job to become the store's new manager. He would run Peco's for 50 years. Frank adapted and persevered. He led multiple renovations, including adding fl oor space, a wine cellar and a walk-in humidor. The business and its offi ces expanded into the house. Frank's greatest challenge was the fi re of 1986. "It burned the whole store down," Mulvihill says. "He was told it'd be a year before he could reopen." The blaze occurred just before Memorial Day. Frank had the store rebuilt and opened again in time for Labor Day — about three months later. "My grandparents were people persons," Mulvihill explains. "They had a lot of friends. The community helped them rebuild the store. It was like George Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life.' They had the steel delivered to rebuild the store before they even had the permit for the construction." Time marched onward. Rita and Frank's daughter, Francine Mulvihill, joined the company in 1993 as director of operations. Her focus on modernization — con- tinuing from generations before her — was passed down to her son, Ed. B I G C O M P E T I T I O N Peco's has remained a successful, family-operated store in modern times, when many mom-and-pop shops have closed after losing business to Big Box stores. This is not for lack of competition. "We're ten minutes from the fi rst Total Wine & More, their fl agship location," Ed Mulvihill points out. "It's been challenging. The price for me to buy from my whole- saler can be more than the cost for consumers to buy the same item at Total Wine." "It's pretty frustrating," he adds. "It's often a balanc- ing act with pricing. I've been in dialogue with my vendors about that. But I'm not call- ing for price control." Instead, Ed looks for other methods to distinguish Pe- co's. The closeness to Total Wine "is also been a blessing in disguise," he says. "They are who they are, and we are who we are. And that's all about specialize, special- ize, specialize." > more > January/February 2016 • Beverage Dynamics 41

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