Whisky Magazine Issue 11
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Damian Riley-Smith dropped in on the Park Avenue Liquor shop and emerged energised and inspired.
“If you don't have it you can't sell it”, exclaims Michael Goldstein, who has adopted this phrase as his mantra for retailing excellence. It is a far cry from the 1920s when his business started (as the HJG Liquor Corporation) specialising in window displays for the drinks industry.
Herman Joseph Goldstein decided to buy what was then known as a retail package store, Park Avenue Liquor Shop, in 1953/4, when it was on Park Avenue. ‘Package store' meant retail liquor and wine shop. They moved the store to 40th Street when the building was pulled down, then to Madison Avenue and decided not to change the name. “You'll always remember ‘Park Avenue on Madison',” says Michael. And you do.
In 1965 his father died, “I was flung into the business” he says. One of his father's best friends was Victor Puppin, the sommelier at the Brussels, then one of the top restaurants in New York. “Victor took me under his wing and taught me the wine business from the ground up,” Michael adds. “He was in contact with high society and the very wealthy, and said to me, ‘Michael, if you're going to sell wine you may as well sell great wine because its easier and more fun'.”
Michael took this concept to heart, and since 1965 the business has grown more than 20 fold.
“My philosophy is having great inventory,” he explains. “And its not just one bottle of each brand, it's multiple cases”. “I really love having large inventories of quality merchandise, because good q...