After years positioned along Delaware Avenue near Sheridan Drive, Premier Liquor has shuttered the location and transitioned to Amherst where a larger plot of land, a custom-made building and a bustling retail corridor awaits.
The move is bittersweet for Burt Notarius, the longtime owner of the store. Three times since 1969 he has moved to different spots along the same road in the Village of Kenmore — the most recent since 1981— though he said he never anticipated his business becoming the force that it has.
"I've been in the Delaware area for 43 years, living there about another 10 years," he said. "It's a little bit nostalgic. It's been 55 years one way or another."
But with Canadians flooding in for affordable alcohol, burgeoning online sales and the mega store's hearty selection making it a go-to destination for Western New Yorkers, Notarius said Premier Liquor has become the largest wine and spirits store in the nation, which is now necessitating the move.
"It's in the right area and the beginning of a new phase," he said. "The Maple Road store is 200 yards from Tonawanda. Unfortunately, there was no space to buy five or six acres of land and keep it there."
The move, highlighted today with a grand opening, will nearly double Premier's retail space to 28,500 square feet and increase the company's storage space by 70 percent. It's gourmet deli, Premier Gourmet, is also moving to the new location following a brief period of uncertainty, in which a well-known chain store expressed a desire to form a partnership.
"We had talked to Trader Joe's and they were interested," he said. "They called me in December and they want the location on Maple. I said, 'my kids bought the gourmet store and they just bought the lease.' "