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Market Watch Honors The Nation’s Top Retailers At Its Annual Leaders Awards Dinner

September 30, 2022

SND sister publication Market Watch magazine saluted the nation’s top spirits and wine retailers last night at the annual Leaders Awards Dinner, which was held at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

The magazine’s Retailer of the Year award went to Curtis Mann, group vice president of alcohol at Albertsons Cos., who oversees beverage alcohol at the 34-state grocery giant, whose total annual sales are nearly $72 billion. Despite the company’s giant scale, Mann has been tireless in his dedication to education and selection, helping to turn the company’s wine and spirits departments into destinations for shoppers.

Eight retailers from six different operations were also honored as Market Watch Leaders last night. Here’s the list of the class of 2022:

Michael Osborn and Rich Bergsund of California-based online retailer Wine.com, which has emerged as the gold standard in online wine and liquor selling. The company today has annual revenues that are expected to top $250 million this year. Sales accelerated greatly during the pandemic, and are now 60%-70% higher than they were in 2019.

Melissa Surdyk of Surdyk’s, a retailing institution and downtown destination in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Melissa is a fourth-generation CEO and third-generation Market Watch Leader from Surdyk’s, which was founded in 1934 and has current sales of $17 million. The store continues to embody everything great about old-style retailing while also adapting to modern trends.

Bruce and David Garfield of the eight-store Garfield’s Beverage chain in the Chicago market. Operating since 1951 and today run by father-and-son duo Bruce and David Garfield, the business has fine-tuned the city/suburb formula. Together, Bruce and David have grown Garfield’s from two stores and $12 million in revenues 20 years ago to eight stores and revenues of $30 million today.

Chuck Pascale of Pascale’s Liquor Square in Syracuse, New York. After jumping into the beverage alcohol retail business with his brother in 1978, Chuck struck out on his own in 2000 with Pascale’s Liquor Square. Pascale’s continued success comes from staying atop of shifting trends and catering to his market’s varied local demographics.

Jon Stiles of The Party Source in Bellevue, Kentucky. This Bluegrass State retail giant with annual sales of $56.5 million won a Leaders award back in 1991 under former owner Ken Lewis, who sold the business to his employees in 2014. Last night their achievements were honored under Stiles’s leadership as president and CEO.

Mark Thrift, director of wine, spirits and beer at Mollie Stone’s Markets, the upscale, nine-store supermarket chain in northern California. Thrift has enhanced the selection at this upscale supermarket chain and its nine stores with his mission of “changing people’s lives” through food and drink, while keeping things cutting edge in a competitive market.

The Leaders Alumni were honored in the categories of Best Marketing, Best Website, and Community Service. Brothers Marc and Matthew Jonna, who operate Michigan-based chain Plum Market, won the Best Marketing award, while Rufus Nagel of Colorado retailer Molly’s Spirits took home the Best Website honor. The Community Service award went to Charles Sonnenberg of Nashville-based Frugal MacDoogal.

The supplier tier was also honored last night. Rick Tigner of Jackson Family Wines was the winner of the Industry Executive of the Year award. A veteran of Jackson Family who started there in 1991, Tigner has built a reputation as one of the wine industry’s most successful chief executives. Among the brand honorees, Don Julio Tequila was named Spirits Brand of the Year, while The Prisoner was Wine Brand of the Year. The Best New Spirits Product award went to Grey Goose Essences, while 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red won the Best New Wine Product honor.

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