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New Sam's Wine store?

New Sam's Wine store?
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  • Post #31 - September 10th, 2009, 12:59 pm
    Post #31 - September 10th, 2009, 12:59 pm Post #31 - September 10th, 2009, 12:59 pm
    Thanks, nr706. Maybe it's a leftover from journalism school, but I hate sloppy editing.

    Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled thread...
  • Post #32 - September 10th, 2009, 2:05 pm
    Post #32 - September 10th, 2009, 2:05 pm Post #32 - September 10th, 2009, 2:05 pm
    They are having a pretty good close out sale at the HP store. everything (including booze and beer) is at least 25% off, with french and spanish wines 40% off, and all their "vineyard direct" offerings 50% off. I just got back and there is still a decent selection....the sale ends sunday.

    -Will
  • Post #33 - September 26th, 2009, 11:53 am
    Post #33 - September 26th, 2009, 11:53 am Post #33 - September 26th, 2009, 11:53 am
    I was in the neighborhood of the (main) store on Marcey yesterday and decided to stop in, hoping for some nice spirit finds and a couple of items on my list. Instead, the place resembled Eastern Europe circa 1987. There were so many out-of-stocks in multiple categories, it was shocking and maddening. I asked at the service desk if the items I was seeking were actually out of stock or just sitting in a box somewhere in the back of the store. I was told that they were, in fact, completely out of stock. I asked if that was typical and got a ridiculous answer that it wasn't but that with their 2 recent store closings, inventories were not up to date (even though it seems to me that with inventories from 2 closed stores available, the shelves at the surviving stores should be more stocked, not less stocked).

    In any event, the bottom line is that Sam's is pretty much dead. It just seems like no one who can make a decision there actually cares or knows what they are doing. The quality that was once synonomous with Sam's is long gone. They're mailing it in, probably because they don't have to be any better than that to survive. That said, it wouldn't suprise me if the 2 remaining Sam's stores were not long for this world. I don't think ownership/upper management has a clue about how to run this business successfully and there's an unmistakable pall in the air.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #34 - September 26th, 2009, 2:10 pm
    Post #34 - September 26th, 2009, 2:10 pm Post #34 - September 26th, 2009, 2:10 pm
    Ronnie,

    Maybe the new owners will take them back to Rosen's original location under the Ell and they can refocus on selling half-pints of Four Roses in paper bags.

    Tim
  • Post #35 - September 26th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    Post #35 - September 26th, 2009, 3:06 pm Post #35 - September 26th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    Tim wrote:Ronnie,

    Maybe the new owners will take them back to Rosen's original location under the Ell and they can refocus on selling half-pints of Four Roses in paper bags.

    Tim

    Or maybe they'll just learn how to run their stores properly. Of course, the fact that 2 of them have closed in the past few weeks indicates that's not likely to happen. The original store, in its various locations, grew to become distinctive and great (half-pints notwithstanding) when the Rosens owned it, and the entity in its current form has slipped dramatically -- by any measure -- since they sold it.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #36 - September 28th, 2009, 8:56 am
    Post #36 - September 28th, 2009, 8:56 am Post #36 - September 28th, 2009, 8:56 am
    My understanding is that the company is now owned by a group who's strategy is to downsize companies, sell off pieces, etc.
  • Post #37 - September 28th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    Post #37 - September 28th, 2009, 1:52 pm Post #37 - September 28th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:In any event, the bottom line is that Sam's is pretty much dead.


    This saddens me so. In my early years in Chicago, I would spend entire weekend afternoons at Sam's just looking around, reading descriptions of wines and asking lots of questions of the very friendly staff. And I have fond (though a bit hazy) memories of their grand tasting nights, especially the spirits ones. At one Spirits Night, we had a long conversation with a distiller from Bruichladdich during which, after oohing over his Peat Proposal, I remember offering to come to Scotland to work at Bruichladdich for free as long as I could learn about distilling. I found his business card in my pocket the next day, so maybe he even took me half seriously? :roll:
  • Post #38 - September 28th, 2009, 1:58 pm
    Post #38 - September 28th, 2009, 1:58 pm Post #38 - September 28th, 2009, 1:58 pm
    As a past defender of the Marcey Street Sam's, I have noticed that, in my last few visits, the inventory was way down (although I understand they were especially cleaned out the day before the liquor tax increase) and, what's worse, I've noticed real apathy on the part of longtime staffers who, years ago, were enthusiastic. Seems like it's another casualty of PE.

    Having said that, where should I go for reasonably priced wine in Chicago (and not the South Loop Binny's, please, which is in way too trafficky an area)? My sense is that Sam's is still useful in some regard even if it's a shadow of its former self.
  • Post #39 - September 28th, 2009, 2:00 pm
    Post #39 - September 28th, 2009, 2:00 pm Post #39 - September 28th, 2009, 2:00 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote: hoping for some nice spirit finds and a couple of items on my list. Instead, the place resembled Eastern Europe circa 1987.


    When did the liquor tax increase go into effect? Anyhow, at that time, the spirit aisles were literally cleaned out at Sam's. Interesting, though, that they haven't restocked, although I don't have a sense for how quickly that is done with the distribution network that is Chicago.
  • Post #40 - September 28th, 2009, 2:03 pm
    Post #40 - September 28th, 2009, 2:03 pm Post #40 - September 28th, 2009, 2:03 pm
    My favorite place is Perman Wine Selections near the corner of Washington and Halsted. It is a very small place, but Craig Perman will order anything you want, he has great prices, and has a great selection in the store. Here's a little blurb about him: http://www3.timeoutny.com/chicago/blog/ ... ig-perman/

    Perman Wine Selections
    802 W. Washington, Chicago, IL 60607
    312-666-4417

    You might also try Howard's Wine Cellar. I believe Howard is the son of the founder of Sam's.
  • Post #41 - September 28th, 2009, 2:54 pm
    Post #41 - September 28th, 2009, 2:54 pm Post #41 - September 28th, 2009, 2:54 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote: hoping for some nice spirit finds and a couple of items on my list. Instead, the place resembled Eastern Europe circa 1987.

    When did the liquor tax increase go into effect? Anyhow, at that time, the spirit aisles were literally cleaned out at Sam's. Interesting, though, that they haven't restocked, although I don't have a sense for how quickly that is done with the distribution network that is Chicago.

    Personally, I don't think the liquor tax increase had anything to do with the sad state at Sam's...I believe it's a convenient-but-totally-b.s. excuse that they're trying to get as much mileage out of as possible, rather than fessing up to whatever management dysfunction they're currently experiencing.

    I went there the week after the increase took effect looking for a bottle of Gosling's Black Seal rum, only to find its spot on the shelf empty. When I asked if they had any in the back, the employee told me they didn't, and that I would be hard-pressed to find it anywhere in Chicago, because the distributor was totally out due to the tax increase.

    I thought that explanation sounded a bit sketchy, so I called the Lincoln Park Binny's and asked if they had any left...the guy that answered the phone checked for me, and said "We've got like 20 on the shelf and a few cases in the back. We get more from our distributor pretty regularly since it's been really popular this summer." I headed over to Halsted/Clark/Wellington and, sure enough, fully-stocked shelves and liquor prices +/- $1 of Sam's. Plus a very convenient little glassware section (better than Sam's, in my opinion...I scored a pair of nice beer tulips for only $2.10 each), and much better deals on beer.

    I too used to love Sam's, but after the past few experiences, I think I might shift my meager booze dollars over to the Lincoln Park Binny's.
  • Post #42 - September 28th, 2009, 3:00 pm
    Post #42 - September 28th, 2009, 3:00 pm Post #42 - September 28th, 2009, 3:00 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote: hoping for some nice spirit finds and a couple of items on my list. Instead, the place resembled Eastern Europe circa 1987.

    When did the liquor tax increase go into effect? Anyhow, at that time, the spirit aisles were literally cleaned out at Sam's. Interesting, though, that they haven't restocked, although I don't have a sense for how quickly that is done with the distribution network that is Chicago.

    Personally, I don't think the liquor tax increase had anything to do with the sad state at Sam's...I believe it's a convenient-but-totally-b.s. excuse that they're trying to get as much mileage out of as possible, rather than fessing up to whatever management dysfunction they're currently experiencing.


    Like I said, I don't know why they wouldn't be restocked by now, but Sam's, like most of the big liquor stores, was a complete zoo the days before that tax went into effect, so it at least had a real short-term effect on its stock. My guess is that the lack of replenishment of their depleted inventory is a bad sign, as Ronnie portended.
  • Post #43 - September 28th, 2009, 3:32 pm
    Post #43 - September 28th, 2009, 3:32 pm Post #43 - September 28th, 2009, 3:32 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote: hoping for some nice spirit finds and a couple of items on my list. Instead, the place resembled Eastern Europe circa 1987.


    When did the liquor tax increase go into effect? Anyhow, at that time, the spirit aisles were literally cleaned out at Sam's. Interesting, though, that they haven't restocked, although I don't have a sense for how quickly that is done with the distribution network that is Chicago.

    September 1 was the date the tax went into effect so it seems that the tax is used being used as a pretext for the poor inventory, since it's been nearly a month since it took effect.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #44 - September 29th, 2009, 5:43 pm
    Post #44 - September 29th, 2009, 5:43 pm Post #44 - September 29th, 2009, 5:43 pm
    whenever i see stores with consistently low inventory I usually think one of a few things is going on- keep in mind that I have absolutely no knowledge of what Sam's day to day operations are like, other than their selection generally sucking for what I'm looking for in terms of price and quality:

    1. Cash is extremely tight and probably poorly managed, thus suppliers are getting paid late and shipments are being slowed

    2. The supply chain is really weak

    3. In the worst case scenarios I think about Phar-Mor and accounting issues.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #45 - September 29th, 2009, 10:18 pm
    Post #45 - September 29th, 2009, 10:18 pm Post #45 - September 29th, 2009, 10:18 pm
    Just caught this story at the Trib's web site:

    Walgreens to bring liquor back to stores

    Sandra M. Jones at the Chicago Tribune wrote:Walgreen Co. plans to add beer and wine to its stores, marking a return to the liquor business.

    The Deerfield-based drugstore chain expects to rollout the liquor category to stores in the next 12 to 18 months, said Walgreen Chief Executive Gregory Wasson in an earnings conference call Tuesday.

    Although the category is expected to account for less than 1 percent of store shelf space, the hope is that beer and wine will drive traffic to the stores and that shoppers will buy other items once they are there, Wasson said.

    Obviously, the selection at Walgreens is likely to be limited but as long as the selection at dedicated liquor stores is so poor, Walgreen's should do nicely cutting into this segment. If all a shopper wants is a 6-pack of Bud Light or a bottle of Kendall Jackson chardonnay, why bother with Sam's? They can just pick it up with their pharmacy items at Walgreens and save themselves an extra stop.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #46 - September 29th, 2009, 10:28 pm
    Post #46 - September 29th, 2009, 10:28 pm Post #46 - September 29th, 2009, 10:28 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Just caught this story at the Trib's web site:
    Walgreens to bring liquor back to stores

    I wonder if they saw CVS eating their lunch after starting to sell liquor at their (non-former-Osco) stores, and realized they were leaving a ton of easy money on the table. CVS's liquor section has come in handy in a pinch a few times, when I needed easy stuff like a bottle of Jack or a case of cheap domestic brew but didn't feel like going out of my way.
  • Post #47 - September 30th, 2009, 12:48 am
    Post #47 - September 30th, 2009, 12:48 am Post #47 - September 30th, 2009, 12:48 am
    I'll miss the cheese counter in the deli even more than the wines. Sigh. I hope someone else has brie de Meaux.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #48 - September 30th, 2009, 8:23 am
    Post #48 - September 30th, 2009, 8:23 am Post #48 - September 30th, 2009, 8:23 am
    Khaopaat wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Just caught this story at the Trib's web site:
    Walgreens to bring liquor back to stores

    I wonder if they saw CVS eating their lunch after starting to sell liquor at their (non-former-Osco) stores, and realized they were leaving a ton of easy money on the table. CVS's liquor section has come in handy in a pinch a few times, when I needed easy stuff like a bottle of Jack or a case of cheap domestic brew but didn't feel like going out of my way.



    Nope....
    That's not why WAG is back in the retail liquor business.
  • Post #49 - September 30th, 2009, 8:36 am
    Post #49 - September 30th, 2009, 8:36 am Post #49 - September 30th, 2009, 8:36 am
    I'm with aschie30. I used to be a defender, but after they had that legal trouble, and had to close the store for three days, and then sold the business, it all went downhill. I head over to Wine Discount on Elston for interesting wines, but I think I'm going to have to make Binny's in River North my go to spot now. Hell, I even make an extra stop at the Urban Fresh Jewel (tiniest store in town) to get my Bohemia beer because Sam's doesn't carry it.
  • Post #50 - September 30th, 2009, 9:11 am
    Post #50 - September 30th, 2009, 9:11 am Post #50 - September 30th, 2009, 9:11 am
    mhill95149 wrote:
    Khaopaat wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Just caught this story at the Trib's web site:
    Walgreens to bring liquor back to stores

    I wonder if they saw CVS eating their lunch after starting to sell liquor at their (non-former-Osco) stores, and realized they were leaving a ton of easy money on the table. CVS's liquor section has come in handy in a pinch a few times, when I needed easy stuff like a bottle of Jack or a case of cheap domestic brew but didn't feel like going out of my way.



    Nope....
    That's not why WAG is back in the retail liquor business.

    Care to elaborate?

    If you've got info, I honestly am interested...I love adding little tidbits like this to my mental "useless knowledge database" :)
  • Post #51 - September 30th, 2009, 9:14 am
    Post #51 - September 30th, 2009, 9:14 am Post #51 - September 30th, 2009, 9:14 am
    Great, now I can just get liquor at Walgreen's, instead of having to get codeine cough syrup and mix it with Gatorade
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #52 - September 30th, 2009, 9:21 am
    Post #52 - September 30th, 2009, 9:21 am Post #52 - September 30th, 2009, 9:21 am
    sorry nothing to add beyond saying that CVS had nothing to do with the plan to put booze back in the stores.
  • Post #53 - September 30th, 2009, 11:16 am
    Post #53 - September 30th, 2009, 11:16 am Post #53 - September 30th, 2009, 11:16 am
    The print version of the Tribune had some information that was not in the on-line version. Three notable points:
    1. Beer and wine only, no spirits
    2. One 4 1/2 foot cooler for beer
    3. Twelve feet of shelf for relatively inexpensive wines
  • Post #54 - September 30th, 2009, 11:25 am
    Post #54 - September 30th, 2009, 11:25 am Post #54 - September 30th, 2009, 11:25 am
    ekreider wrote:The print version of the Tribune had some information that was not in the on-line version. Three notable points:
    1. Beer and wine only, no spirits
    2. One 4 1/2 foot cooler for beer
    3. Twelve feet of shelf for relatively inexpensive wines

    #1 was mentioned in the on-line version I read. Also, the story did say that Walgreen's would dedicate about 1% of their total shelf space to these items. That should put them on a par, inventory-wise, with Sam's! :lol:

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #55 - September 30th, 2009, 2:14 pm
    Post #55 - September 30th, 2009, 2:14 pm Post #55 - September 30th, 2009, 2:14 pm
    Also note that Walgreen's sold liquor for decades. I think they know the costs and benefits fairly well.
  • Post #56 - October 8th, 2009, 10:07 am
    Post #56 - October 8th, 2009, 10:07 am Post #56 - October 8th, 2009, 10:07 am
    Rumor has it that Binny's has purchased Sam's.....
    Announcement soon.
  • Post #57 - October 8th, 2009, 8:13 pm
    Post #57 - October 8th, 2009, 8:13 pm Post #57 - October 8th, 2009, 8:13 pm
    Yep, Binny's bought Sam's.

    Trib story: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-binnys-oct8-,0,6874383.story

    Sad, as I've always found Sam's selection and prices to be better than Binny's, but perhaps necessary as Sam's has certainly been in a nosedive lately.
  • Post #58 - October 8th, 2009, 8:14 pm
    Post #58 - October 8th, 2009, 8:14 pm Post #58 - October 8th, 2009, 8:14 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:Rumor has it that Binny's has purchased Sam's.....
    Announcement soon.


    Here it is: http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009 ... d-sum.html

    LOL! Looks like I was beat to the punch!
  • Post #59 - October 8th, 2009, 9:31 pm
    Post #59 - October 8th, 2009, 9:31 pm Post #59 - October 8th, 2009, 9:31 pm
    No wonder Sam's had stopped stocking their shelves. As I posted above, it seemed clear that Sam's wasn't long for this world.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #60 - October 9th, 2009, 3:23 pm
    Post #60 - October 9th, 2009, 3:23 pm Post #60 - October 9th, 2009, 3:23 pm
    Another article (albeit an older one from Aug. 2007), with a pretty in-depth blow-by-blow with what happened between the two brothers:
    http://www.inc.com/magazine/20070801/sp ... heirs.html
    best,
    dan

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