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Market Watch: Chicagoland Retailer Garfield’s In Expansion Mode

June 24, 2022

Though its Chicago stores have sleek and modern interiors, Garfield’s Beverage Warehouse in the Chicagoland area has been around since 1951. Originally founded by Norman Garfield as Cicero Cut-Rate Liquors in Cicero, Illinois, the business expanded and operated under the brand Cardinal Wine and Liquors for nearly three decades before settling on the family name in 2015. The chain is now owned by Norman’s son, Bruce, who runs the company alongside his son, David, and COO Adam Silverstein. Annual revenue at Garfield’s was more than $30 million in 2021, and further expansion is in the works.

Currently, there are eight Garfield’s stores, located primarily in Chicago’s northwestern suburbs, with additional units on the way. “We’re actively looking all the time,” Bruce says. “We’re projecting two more stores by the end of the year. But we’re constantly building. Our goal is to eventually have about 25 stores in total.”

Jeremy Brock, Garfield’s chief buying officer and area manager for the suburbs, sees a lot of experimentation from suburban clientele. “If customers can’t get the highly sought-after Bourbons, they are willing to try something else,” he explains, noting that the Crystal Lake and Palatine locations both have added bars inside the stores within the last few years. “We have the ability to give someone a little taste, and they may have never heard of it before, but they end up liking it.”

The bar concept harkens back to the chain’s early days. “My dad’s store in Cicero had a bar in the store,” Bruce says. “And now we’ve opened up bars in two of our stores in the suburbs, so we’re going back to the old concept of what my dad started years ago.”

The current lineup of Garfield’s stores inside Chicago’s city limits are located in trendier or up-and-coming neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Lakeview. Store size in the city ranges from 2,800 square feet in Lakeview to 5,000 square feet at the South Wicker Park unit. “Our stores in the city have a smaller blueprint than the suburban stores, but they have the exact same look,” Bruce says. With a fourth store slated to open on Wells Street in the near North Side neighborhood of Old Town later this year, Garfield’s continues to grow its visibility in Chicago. Market Watch has more on Garfield’s expansion plans.—Amber Drea

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