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New Sam's Wine store?

New Sam's Wine store?
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  • New Sam's Wine store?

    Post #1 - April 10th, 2005, 4:15 pm
    Post #1 - April 10th, 2005, 4:15 pm Post #1 - April 10th, 2005, 4:15 pm
    I have heard a rumor that Sam's wine will be opening a store at the old Dominicks/Byerlys location on rt. 41 in HIghland Park. Anyone out there to back up the rumor?
    -Will
  • Post #2 - April 10th, 2005, 4:18 pm
    Post #2 - April 10th, 2005, 4:18 pm Post #2 - April 10th, 2005, 4:18 pm
    Hi!

    Running up to the really local elections, I went to a few candidates teas. I learned Sam's is going in that location as well as a Staples office supply store. I guess they will be dividing up that space.

    We already have a Binny's at Crossroads where Gold Standard used to be. Here is something weird: once I was reading some dopey greatest-of, largest-of, best-of type factoid book. They claimed the original Gold Standard liquor store was the world's (or was that nation's) largest liquor store. Woo hoo such a claim I never saw through our local chamber of commerce!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #3 - April 10th, 2005, 5:34 pm
    Post #3 - April 10th, 2005, 5:34 pm Post #3 - April 10th, 2005, 5:34 pm
    IIRC the earliest Gold Standard store was the one on Dempster in Morton Grove. Another early one was in the 3000 block of Broadway next to a Kroger store. After Dominick's bought Kroger's Chicago stores, they expanded into the Gold Standard space while Gold Standard moved into the old Ivanhoe restaurant building. I doubt that any of these stores had much more space than Zimmerman's when they were at Randolph and Frankin.

    Note that the conversion from Gold Standard occured after the younger generation came back with an MBA and started applying his nickname to the better stores.
  • Post #4 - April 10th, 2005, 6:03 pm
    Post #4 - April 10th, 2005, 6:03 pm Post #4 - April 10th, 2005, 6:03 pm
    ekreider wrote:IIRC the earliest Gold Standard store was the one on Dempster in Morton Grove. Another early one was in the 3000 block of Broadway next to a Kroger store. After Dominick's bought Kroger's Chicago stores, they expanded into the Gold Standard space while Gold Standard moved into the old Ivanhoe restaurant building. I doubt that any of these stores had much more space than Zimmerman's when they were at Randolph and Frankin.

    Note that the conversion from Gold Standard occured after the younger generation came back with an MBA and started applying his nickname to the better stores.


    Not to nitpick (which of course always means a nitpick is coming), yes, the original Gold Standard was the one on Dempster, but it's Skokie, not Morton Grove. One issue with the Gold Standard name was that there was confusion between the liquor store and Gold Standard Baking, an industrial maker of croissants about a mile away on Oakton (yes, that one was in MG - where Lifeway Foods is now).

    I vaguely remember seeing something a few years ago about Binny's being the largest booze seller, but I believe it referred to the entire chain, not just one store. And of course, it didn't include stores that sell a lot of other stuff, like grocery or drug stores, or buying groups (like Cardinal around here).
  • Post #5 - April 10th, 2005, 9:15 pm
    Post #5 - April 10th, 2005, 9:15 pm Post #5 - April 10th, 2005, 9:15 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:We already have a Binny's at Crossroads where Gold Standard used to be.


    I think this is implied in some of the other posts here, but the replacement was really just a renaming. Gold Standard remains the corporate name for Binny's as well as the Chalet, of which I believe there is only one remaining (Gold Coast on Delaware) since the Hyde Park Chalet was re-branded as Binny's Express.
  • Post #6 - April 10th, 2005, 9:36 pm
    Post #6 - April 10th, 2005, 9:36 pm Post #6 - April 10th, 2005, 9:36 pm
    HI,

    I read what I read in that silly book which featured this fact of the world's/nation's largest liquor store situated in Highland Park. Nothing else was special about HP except for that. I found it hard to believe especially as I never heard anyone talk of it.

    Before Gold Standard, there was a Chalet at that very same location, which I just learned was simply a change in names and marketing strategies rather than ownership. Since I have been in that shop exactly twice, you can't really fault me for knowing next to nothing about the lineage.

    All I can really advise which is verifiable is Sam's is coming, which I learned from a city councilman.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - April 11th, 2005, 1:00 am
    Post #7 - April 11th, 2005, 1:00 am Post #7 - April 11th, 2005, 1:00 am
    Just to confuse everyone a bit more, the small Binny's on Green Bay Road in Winnetka (in a strip mall just north of downtown in the Hubbard Woods neighborhood, next to Blackie's burger joint) still carries Chalet signage. Baffling...

    :twisted:
  • Post #8 - January 23rd, 2009, 12:40 pm
    Post #8 - January 23rd, 2009, 12:40 pm Post #8 - January 23rd, 2009, 12:40 pm
    According to today's Trib, it looks like Sam's will again be sold, this time possibly to Binny's . . .

    Sam's Wines and Spirits could have a new owner—again.

    Arbor Investments, the private-equity firm that bought 80 percent of Sam's from the Rosen family in May 2007, is considering selling the four-store chain, according to people familiar with the situation.

    One possible buyer is Sam's longtime rival Binny's Beverage Depot. Arbor Investments and Binny's have been in talks, but no deal has been reached, those people said.

    Sam's Lincoln Park flagship has been a destination for decades. But the combination of outside ownership, a recession and the fact that Fred Rosen, son of the namesake founder, was no longer a fixture in the stores, took its toll on the company.

    Sam's Wines sale could see a 2nd round

    It seems like further descent from the high quality that once distinguished Sam's is imminent. :(

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #9 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:14 pm
    Post #9 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:14 pm Post #9 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:14 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It seems like further descent from the high quality that once distinguished Sam's is imminent. :(

    =R=


    Ronnie,

    Your comment reminds me of my early visits to Sam's. Park under the L tracks, go into the store where they are selling pints of cheap whiskey in paper bags. Down the old wooden stairs along side the conveyor belt and into the warren of cellar rooms filled with cases of wonderful wine with magic marker price tags. There was the France room, the Italy room and so forth.

    It was a treasure of breathtakingly underpriced fine wines in an atmosphere of understated slum. The bare bulbs kept the cockroaches at bay and you could spend hours finding those special wines that were never before seen in Chicago, or at least at those prices.

    I loved the place and my car was never vandalized. I was pulled over by the Chicago Police Department on one visit. They were certain that my car must have been stolen or that I was lost in the wrong neighborhood.

    I wonder if they will again, sell those pints in the brown paper bags?

    Tim
  • Post #10 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:16 pm
    Post #10 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:16 pm Post #10 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:16 pm
    If it's sold to Binny's then a downslide is almost guaranteed. . . :cry:
  • Post #11 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:27 pm
    Post #11 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:27 pm Post #11 - January 23rd, 2009, 1:27 pm
    Tim wrote:Your comment reminds me of my early visits to Sam's. Park under the L tracks, go into the store where they are selling pints of cheap whiskey in paper bags. Down the old wooden stairs along side the conveyor belt and into the warren of cellar rooms filled with cases of wonderful wine with magic marker price tags. There was the France room, the Italy room and so forth.

    It was a treasure of breathtakingly underpriced fine wines in an atmosphere of understated slum. The bare bulbs kept the cockroaches at bay and you could spend hours finding those special wines that were never before seen in Chicago, or at least at those prices.

    Thanks for the wonderful, evocative post. I remember trying to convince friends to visit Sam's back in the day, and they refused to go to what they called "the ghetto" to buy wine. Sam's was a very special place back then. Once they moved out of the building at Halsted and North, into the old Peter Hand Brewery, they became more corporate. Then there was the move to the current Marcy St. location ...

    So, they've been slowly downsliding for decades.

    That said, I don't mind Binny's - if you shop carefully, you can get some good deals there.
  • Post #12 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:28 pm
    Post #12 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:28 pm Post #12 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:28 pm
    aschie30 wrote:If it's sold to Binny's then a downslide is almost guaranteed. . . :cry:


    Have you been to Sam's recently?
    They have fired over 50 employees in the last few months and the wine selection is way down.
    Big stacks of house-brand wines with high prices for everything else....

    What exactly do you like about the "new" Sam's?
    Oh yea, they are also way behind on delivering of 2005 Brdx futures.

    I'd be much happier if Binny's took over.....
  • Post #13 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:39 pm
    Post #13 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:39 pm Post #13 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:39 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:If it's sold to Binny's then a downslide is almost guaranteed. . . :cry:


    Have you been to Sam's recently?

    The Highland Park store was such a disappointment that after 1 trip -- right after it opened -- I never returned. The shelves were bare compared to the 'original' Sam's and what they did have could have been purchased absolutely anywhere. I figured that it might have had something to do with their just having opened but then read comments from the Rosens that the store had been stocked in that manner intentionally because it matched up better with the North Shore customers' buying patterns. While that may have been true, it made me realize that in any event, the store was certainly not for me.

    I definitely don't mind Binny's and they have what I'm looking for about 70% of the time. When buying wine, I really prefer Wine Discount Center to just about any other local retail outlet, however.

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #14 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:43 pm
    Post #14 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:43 pm Post #14 - January 23rd, 2009, 2:43 pm
    I prefer many out of state retailers.... But that's another thread all together.....

    much to love about WDC and one is very close to me
  • Post #15 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:22 pm
    Post #15 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:22 pm Post #15 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:22 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:If it's sold to Binny's then a downslide is almost guaranteed. . . :cry:


    Have you been to Sam's recently?
    They have fired over 50 employees in the last few months and the wine selection is way down.
    Big stacks of house-brand wines with high prices for everything else....

    What exactly do you like about the "new" Sam's?
    Oh yea, they are also way behind on delivering of 2005 Brdx futures.

    I'd be much happier if Binny's took over.....


    I don't know what you mean by the "new" Sam's -- I've only lived in Chicago for 13 years, so the current Sam's is the only Sam's I know. I don't have a problem finding wine at Sam's. If I'm looking for a particular bottle, 8 times out of 10, they'll have it. I have noticed their wine prices moving upward recently, but it's still a solid place to find decently priced bottles and a decent variety. I always find something I enjoy in their Spanish wine section. The $10 section is fun, but as expected, some bottles are hit or miss. I like that Sam's has bottles from every region in Italy, so if you're looking for a more obscure grape from, say, Alto Adige, you're likely to find something. I tend not to buy a whole lot of French wines (except rosés and some rhones), so I can't really comment on Sam's selection there. Because I don't have the basis for comparison to the "old" Sam's, I don't perceive the slippage in quality as keenly as some others might. As for laying off employees, if they're currently 80% held by a private equity, aren't all PEs taking nosedives? I wouldn't expect the laying off to be that unusual, then, especially if they're readying to sell the store, they probably want to lighten payroll.

    As for Binny's (and the only one I go to is on Grand Ave.), I've never been that enthralled by either the variety or the prices. A 1/2 aisle of four shelves of Spanish wines? Bah! A handful of bottles of Italian whites (which I enjoy in summer). I've always found their selection of whites in general to be on par with Dominick's -- heavy on the American Chardonnays. Don't even get me started on their rosé selection. . .

    Otherwise, I buy out of state or from smaller wine stores. WDC is okay and I've noticed the uptick in their prices as well.
    Last edited by aschie30 on January 23rd, 2009, 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #16 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:27 pm
    Post #16 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:27 pm Post #16 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:27 pm
    The Binny's on Grand is not great, it is true. I can't speak to wine selection ('cause I'm not that guy) but I've been pretty impressed with the South Loop Binny's, at least for the things I'm after.
    Ronnie said I should probably tell you guys about my website so

    Hey I have a website.
    http://www.sandwichtribunal.com
  • Post #17 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:34 pm
    Post #17 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:34 pm Post #17 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:34 pm
    JimTheBeerGuy wrote:The Binny's on Grand is not great, it is true. I can't speak to wine selection ('cause I'm not that guy) but I've been pretty impressed with the South Loop Binny's, at least for the things I'm after.


    Yeah, I'd expect that the Binny's in South Loop would be better. I haven't been. For some reason, I find myself in the South Loop only twice a year.

    Here's the other thing that bugs me about Binny's: their rules regarding checking ID. Why the hell does everyone in the group at the checkout need to show their ID if only one person is purchasing? It's not the law. It's a hassle. Frankly, I'd be hard-pressed to believe that nanny policy saves them any money on insurance or reduces their dram shop liability.

    Here's the other thing I like about Sam's: For a frequent wine buyer, I like earning miles when I buy at Sam's. Also, if I buy a case (which I do fairly often), I get a coupon in the mail for 15% my next purchase.
    Last edited by aschie30 on January 23rd, 2009, 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #18 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:39 pm
    Post #18 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:39 pm Post #18 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:39 pm
    aschie30 wrote: I've always found their selection of whites in general to be on par with Dominick's -- heavy on the American Chardonnays. Don't even get me started on their rosé selection. . .


    I guess people buy and drink American Chardonays....
    FWIW, I've never seen Rochioli Vineyards chard at Dominicks

    Binny's is now stocking the Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel & CdR, Tempier and the Domaine Ott (too $$ for me)
    plus many of the Bobby Katcher selections as well as about 12 others (in season)

    What's missing for you?
  • Post #19 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:43 pm
    Post #19 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:43 pm Post #19 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:43 pm
    JimTheBeerGuy wrote:The Binny's on Grand is not great, it is true. I can't speak to wine selection ('cause I'm not that guy) but I've been pretty impressed with the South Loop Binny's, at least for the things I'm after.
    Last week, we stopped by both the Binny's on Grand and the South Loop location. The Grand store is tiny compared to the South Loop spot. If you have the option, go to the South Loop and skip Grand.

    We went there to take advantage of their wine clearance sale and were able to score some nice bottles at half off and more.

    I used to like Sam's, but after some attitude about online vs. in-store pricing (you could buy online and pickup at store for a discount, but wine purchased at the store didn't qualify for the discount), I'm finding Binny's to be the better option.

    Ronna
  • Post #20 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:44 pm
    Post #20 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:44 pm Post #20 - January 23rd, 2009, 3:44 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:
    aschie30 wrote: I've always found their selection of whites in general to be on par with Dominick's -- heavy on the American Chardonnays. Don't even get me started on their rosé selection. . .


    I guess people buy and drink American Chardonays....
    FWIW, I've never seen Rochioli Vineyards chard at Dominicks

    Binny's is now stocking the Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel & CdR, Tempier and the Domaine Ott (too $$ for me)
    plus many of the Bobby Katcher selections as well as about 12 others (in season)

    What's missing for you?


    My point is that, like Dominick's, the selection of whites at Binny's is really chardonnay-heavy. I'm not a fan of American chardonnays, so at least one whole aisle is out for me. Although for you, Binny's seems to carry certain bottles that you like, but as I said above, I've never been impressed by the selection or prices at Binny's (Grand Ave).
  • Post #21 - January 23rd, 2009, 4:39 pm
    Post #21 - January 23rd, 2009, 4:39 pm Post #21 - January 23rd, 2009, 4:39 pm
    I agree with Mel. I like the Highland Park Binnys much better than the HP Sams. I too buy most of my wine at WDC, but Binnys sales can be very good, and they seem to have the widest selection of rose around. So if they do merge, which location will Binnys keep in HP?
    I am trying not to buy wine right now because I think that over the next 6 months or so we will see a real shakeout at all levels of the wine business, and there will be some tremendous deals as excess inventory is closed out. The last time that this really happened was the early 90's, but the deals were amazing.

    -Will
  • Post #22 - January 27th, 2009, 2:16 am
    Post #22 - January 27th, 2009, 2:16 am Post #22 - January 27th, 2009, 2:16 am
    I agree with those who have been disappointed with the HP Sam's. The few times I've been there I've been turned off by the prices and the poor supply. I think a takeover by Binny's would be an improvement.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #23 - January 27th, 2009, 8:31 am
    Post #23 - January 27th, 2009, 8:31 am Post #23 - January 27th, 2009, 8:31 am
    The funny thing that I'm getting from this thread is that if you frequent the HP Sam's, Binny's is A-OK. If you frequent the LP Sam's and not the South Loop Binny's, Sam's is A-OK. I guess it's all a matter of geographic perspective.
  • Post #24 - March 19th, 2009, 3:55 pm
    Post #24 - March 19th, 2009, 3:55 pm Post #24 - March 19th, 2009, 3:55 pm
    The Sams of today is in no way like the Sams of 30+ years ago and no way like before they sold it. When Fred stiil owned Sams and you showed up at Marcey St early on a Saturday morning, Fred was there to greet you at the door. When they had bars on the windows, the crowding was severe but they had a lot of good stuff at good prices but they had competition in the form of Zimmermann's and Gold Standard. Now the competition is only WDC as the boutique stores make thier money on selling overpriced wine to indiviuals that just want a fast bottle and want someone else to do thier thinking for them.
    I used to purchase futures from Sams and they always delivered but in todays market, no more. German wines I ordered through WDC usually ended up at twice what they sell for in Germany and as the EURO/$ continued to widen the gap to where its no longer reasonable to order German wines.
    So at the moment, I have no wine dealer I prefer over the other and am living off my celler for the most part.-Dick
  • Post #25 - March 19th, 2009, 4:19 pm
    Post #25 - March 19th, 2009, 4:19 pm Post #25 - March 19th, 2009, 4:19 pm
    The Grand Binny's is way smaller than Sam's or the Ivanhoe or South Loop Binny's. Selection is proportionately slimmer, but the comparison to Dominick's wine section is curious to me. I don't go in much for American whites in general, so I'm not sure about their Chardonnay. They do have a nice selection of German rieslings for the size of the space. I always thought it was a great option for River North, in the absence of a megastore space. Paul at the cheese counter is a real gem as well, though Binny's has not been as quick to adopt American artisanal cheeses as some other spots in town, if that's your bag.

    (Disclosure: I worked at the Hyde Park Chalet (and Paul), now Binny's Express, for about a year almost 10 years ago.)
  • Post #26 - August 3rd, 2009, 3:21 pm
    Post #26 - August 3rd, 2009, 3:21 pm Post #26 - August 3rd, 2009, 3:21 pm
    Just caught this piece about the fact that Sam's is closing their South Loop store at the Trib's web site:

    Sandra M. Jones @ ChicagoTribune.com wrote:Sam's Wines and Spirits plans to close its South Loop store after operating it for less than two years.

    The Chicago-based liquor retailer cited the housing crisis and the high rate of vacant condos in the once burgeoning South Loop neighborhood as a factor in deciding to close the store.

    "Due to the slower than anticipated development of the South Loop area, we were forced to cease operations at that location," said Richard DiStasio, chief executive of Sam's.

    Sam's Wines to close South Loop store

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #27 - September 8th, 2009, 12:19 pm
    Post #27 - September 8th, 2009, 12:19 pm Post #27 - September 8th, 2009, 12:19 pm
    Looks like Sam's is now down to 2 stores, as they're closing their Highland Park location . . .

    Chicago Tribune wrote:Citing the economy's current malaise, liquor superstore Sam's Wines and Spirits said Tuesday that it is closing its Highland Park store, following by a month the shuttering of its store in the South Loop.

    The move leaves Sam's with two stores, one in Lincoln Park on Goose Island and the other in Downers Grove. Company President Dick DiStasio said, "Our two flagship locations in Lincoln Park and Downers Grove continue to have a strong presence in their markets and will be pivotal in the resurgence of future Sam's locations across Chicagoland."

    I shop here occasionally and most of the staff is very friendly, so I feel bad for them. But I don't think upper management knows their audience and I don't think they ever really committed to stocking the store properly. Inventory -- especially wine -- has been horrible from Day 1, which I mentioned upthread. In the end, this store has always felt like an outpost, not a genuine destination. Yeah, you can go there to pick up some standard items but this is not a place where you can wander the aisles and find many suprises or interesting items. That, and the fact that the Highland Park locations of Binny's and Wine Discount Center are both pretty good, take most of the sting out of this closing for me.

    Sam's Wines closing Highland Park store

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #28 - September 8th, 2009, 12:45 pm
    Post #28 - September 8th, 2009, 12:45 pm Post #28 - September 8th, 2009, 12:45 pm
    I agree. I stopped there a few times and never felt motivated to buy anything.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #29 - September 10th, 2009, 1:29 pm
    Post #29 - September 10th, 2009, 1:29 pm Post #29 - September 10th, 2009, 1:29 pm
    A question for Chicago geography buffs: The quoted Trib article places the flagship Sam's "on Goose Island." They are ACROSS from Goose Island (the brewpub) but I don't believe they're ON Goose Island (the island between the branches of the Chicago river). Am I wrong about that? Never really got that "island" feel from ol' Sam's, much as I love it.
  • Post #30 - September 10th, 2009, 1:43 pm
    Post #30 - September 10th, 2009, 1:43 pm Post #30 - September 10th, 2009, 1:43 pm
    You're correct; Trib got it wrong. Goose Island is a few hundred yards west, across the river, from Sam's.

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