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Chicago’s Wine Discount Center Is Renamed Vin Chicago As New Generation Takes Charge

December 10, 2013

The Wine Discount Center, a four-store retail chain based in metro Chicago and led for years by Howard “Bud” Schwarzbach, a 1999 Market Watch Leader, has a new name and a new owner.

In an interview this week, Schwarzbach, 79, revealed that he has sold the business to his son, Peter, who has taken on the title of proprietor. In the past month Peter Schwarzbach, 44, has changed the name of the stores to Vin Chicago. The chain’s sales are up roughly 10% this year, and projected to reach an aggregate $25 million.

Bud Schwarzbach started in beverage retailing in 1958 and opened his first Wine Discount Center in 1984, with the chain growing to a peak of 12 branches with wine and spirits some two decades ago before operations were scaled back in the face of competition. He says the old name, chosen to emphasize his low-price focus, won’t be missed.

“In the 1980s, it meant something to put ‘discount’ in your name,” Schwarzbach said. “But now everybody discounts and it doesn’t mean anything anymore. We hired a consultant to help come up with the new brand, which is already getting better recognition from customers. We also think it will lend itself to e-commerce more.”

No matter what, the company still marks down its prices in an aggressive manner. This week it’s advertising Silver Oak 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at a very competitive $49.99, for example.

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