By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News
TOWN OF TONAWANDA —
Like its nearest competitor, Butler’s Sheridan Plaza Liquors will soon be making a leap into new digs that will dramatically expand the store’s selling and warehouse space.
However, it’s not going very far.
Owner Mark Butler said the store’s new site ... located about 150 yards down the plaza from the current location ... will be open in mid to late April.
“There’s still some construction that needs to be done and some deliveries that need to be on time,” he said. “It’s getting close.”
While the impending move of nearby Premier Wine & Spirits to Maple Road in Amherst was a factor in the plans, Butler said, he’d been thinking about making such a jump anyway.
“We wanted to do something like this,” he said. “We’d been thinking about something like this. When I heard about that move, that was the last push I needed.
“I felt if we stayed in our current location, we’d be going backward. We wanted to go forward.”
This won’t be the first move for the business. Butler’s Liquors has been a Town of Tonawanda institution for more than 40 years ... but before that, it was a Buffalo one.
Butler’s father, James P. Butler, returned from World War II, obtained a state liquor license in September 1945 and opened the business on the corner of High and Lemon streets in Buffalo.
In 1970, it moved to the Town of Tonawanda, albeit on the west side of Sheridan Plaza (near the current HSBC). In 1972, the store moved to its current location on the east side of the plaza, on the other side of Delaware Road.
The new store is further to the east in its current plaza, on the other side of Sears Hardware, near Aldi. While the current store is about 3,450 feet, Butler said, the new one will be a little under 8,000 feet.
“We plan to definitely increase our selection,” he said. “We’re going to have new offerings, and it’s going to allow us to get the best pricing to our customers. We’re going to do what we do, better.”
Tom Tomaselli, the store’s manager for the past 20 years, said he’s looking forward to having the space to expand.
“I’ll probably look at some tequilas and rum and bourbons, items that are more boutique-type items that we haven’t had room for,” he said. “There’s so many wines these days that it will be good to have the space. It’ll be fun figuring out what we want to put in it.”
With 42 years in the town, Butler stressed that the business won’t be leaving the area. He himself grew up in Kenmore, graduated from Kenmore West High School, joined his father’s business in December 1980, became part owner in 1985 and bought the store in 1995 when his father retired.
“We’re pleased to be able to invest back into Ken-Ton,” he said. “This is where I started. I grew up, I worked here, I’m staying here. We’re thrilled to be in Ken-Ton and to have such great, loyal customers.”
Some of Butler’s customers have been visiting the store for two or three generations.
“We try to know our customers,” he said. “It’s like the old ‘Cheers’ thing, where everybody knows your name. It’s really fun to come to work.”