A successful entrepreneur is betting on Somerville’s dense population and dynamic urban lifestyle to be the key to a business venture that already has proven a winner in Reading and Woburn.
Ketul Patel is preparing for a final presentation on his proposed Liquor Junction retail store to the Somerville Licensing Commission on Tuesday, April 18th at 6:00pm. The upscale, specialty retailer of beer, wine and spirits plans to move into vacant space at the Twin City Plaza – using the license Patel has acquired from Woody’s Liquors on Somerville Avenue.
Patel’s family-operated business – he acts as business development manager and his wife Jasmin is the principle owner – began in 2014 with Liquor Junction’s Reading location and expanded to Woburn in 2015. Now the Patels are looking to reach a new level of success by entering the market in one of the most exciting and fastest-growing communities in Greater Boston.
“Somerville is a wonderful city, and it’s the ideal market for a store like Liquor Junction,” Patel said. “The city’s leadership has done a remarkable job paying close attention to the quality of life, and fostering the kind of lifestyle and community that is welcoming to every generation, demographic group and type of household.”
But the sweet spot for Patel and Liquor Junction will be key demographic segments such as millennials, young professional couples, early-stage families and even empty nesters. Another market advantage for Somerville is the significant number of quality upscale apartment communities either within or closely surrounding the city.
“We have a really high-end product mix and we specialize in superior knowledge and service, because we target a more mature client base that is sophisticated about food and beverage,” Patel said.
Liquor Junction’s stores feature one of the most extensive selections in the region, with more than 3,000 fine wines priced widely from select value brands to exclusive bottles up to $1,500. Also featured are more than 2500 beer selections and 1500 spirits – including hundreds of craft beers and craft spirits.
Each store has a craft beer specialist and a wine and spirits expert. Every week their stores feature educational events hosted by industry experts, as well as weekend tastings. They offer a custom gift basket service provided by in-house experts, as well as an extensive selection of glassware. They are also committed to promoting local breweries and distilleries and being strong partners with local craft brands.
Response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, based on outreach Patel and his team have done in Somerville – both as a way to test the market and at the direction of the Licensing Commission.
“The Commission has been very thoughtful and deliberate in its approach to our proposal. The guidance they gave us about being really comprehensive with community outreach was very valuable,” Patel said. “That allowed us to both really identify and corral a lot of the support that is out there for our store concept, while also giving us more ways to study the market.”
Patel is very hopeful the Commission gives final approval for Liquor Junction – especially since his store concept is unique in the Somerville market. In fact, Patel believes the specific market segment he is targeting is not being served adequately and possibly not at all by existing alcohol retailers in the area.
“No other alcohol retailer in Somerville replicates the business model of Liquor Junction,” Patel said. “There’s a very clearly unmet need that we will be addressing, and we are confident the Licensing Commission will recognize that.”