Jimmy Valenty has seen the retail spirits business go through a lot of change since his family opened its first liquor store in Pinellas County over 45 years ago. When the Valenty Family first opened its doors, there were just ten liquor stores in St. Petersburg. Over the years, many liquor retailers have come and gone, either being engulfed by chain stores or succumbing to the dynamic challenges of the beverage industry. The Valenty Family, however, has remained viable and sustained itself as a small, independent and successful local business.
Jimmy attributes much of his business’ success to personal service, a deep knowledge of products and his extroverted personality. Clearly, a loyal customer base is a testament to Jimmy’s friendliness. The store’s old-school vibe creates an atmosphere at which everyone feels welcome (a great corner location at 1110 Pasadena Ave helps, too!). As a small business, how does Pasadena Liquors & Fine Wines keep up with products and trends?
Jimmy credits his wine and spirits distributors with keeping Pasadena Liquors & Fine Wines at the leading-edge. “All the distributors are helpful, but Premier Beverage has really helped us keep ahead of emerging trends,” says Jimmy. He explained, “as different wine varietals or liquor categories become popular, you need to quickly adjust.”
“I study trade magazines and occasionally attend trade shows, but without the industry know-how from distributors it would be difficult to keep up,” Jimmy said. Leveraging distributor expertise, Pasadena Liquors & Fine Wines has not only been able to keep up, it has created opportunities for growth. In 2000, the ValentyFamily turned the front half of the store into a specialty wine shop, and for the past 15 years wine sales have accounted for a substantial percentage of the business’ growth. So much so, that Jimmy changed the store’s name from “Discount Liquors” to “Pasadena Liquors and Fine Wines.”
Looking at Pasadena’s extensive collection of wine labels at all different price points, I asked Jimmy how wines from all over the world made their way to Pasadena Liquors and Fine Wines. His answer: go tour Premier Beverage, which Jimmy gladly set up up for me! I’m looking forward to writing all about the tour in my next blog.