For the City Times
The Bottle Stop, 35 Park Ridge Dr., is celebrating five years in business.
Owner Matt Lazarski said he always wanted his own beverage business.
Working for other successful locally-owned enterprises-a liquor distributor, a bar/restaurant and a retail beverage outlet, he developed and honed the skills he knew he would need.
In 2011, after a 37-year-run, the owner of Park Ridge Liquors made it known that he wanted to retire. Lazarski, with the encouragement and support of his wife, Jen, the owner of Photography by Jen, seized the opportunity and The Bottle Stop was born.
The fresh paint was barely dry when he was approached by Big Brothers and Big Sisters and participated in their Taste of the Town fundraiser. Less than three months later, he joined the Portage County Business Council as exclusive wine sponsor for their annual Wines of the World event.
Now after four “Best Beverage” awards at the Taste, 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year/five Wines of the World with PCBC and the 2015 birth of twins, The Bottle Stop has turned five.
To celebrate, their free monthly wine tasting — held this month August 25 from 4 PM to 7 PM, will be the biggest and best yet. Featured will be offerings from several wine vendors, Central Waters Brewery craft beers along with food, raffles and door prizes.
Asked about the key to his success, Lazarski said, “Informed customer service is critical; our loyal customers frequently look to us for advice.”
Lazarski also pointed to the company’s monthly newsletter, which includes Chicago Bill’s “Say Vino” advisory column, which reaches over 500 households, and its popular Facebook page.
“But also important are our close vendor relationships and ‘giving back’; being involved in community service,” he said.