When Star Liquors opened as a small shop in 1984, owner Stan Crapo’s goal was to provide quality spirits and wine at reasonable prices. Almost forty years and two moves to larger locations later, Star Liquors is a huge success story and a highly respected member of the local business community.
Star Liquors has, in fact, been voted # 1 liquor store in Durango and LaPlata County for ten years in a row in the Durango Herald's annual 'best businesses' competition, as determined by readers' votes. And Star Liquors was recently named by the influential industry publication, ‘Beverage Dynamics’ as one of the top 100 independently owned wine and spirits retailers in the country.
Husband and wife team, Mike and Tamara Vermette, have managed Star Liquors for the past twelve years. “We carry a huge variety of wines,” Mike says, “and as a member of the Wine and Spirits Guild of America (a group of independent, mostly family-owned retailers), we can purchase better wines, both imported and domestic, at better prices for our customers. We can also offer our customers exclusive deals on wines and spirits that are available only at our store. We stay current with new products and regularly update training for our staff. When we learn of something new and interesting, or get requests from our customers, we give it a go.”
Star Liquors offers regular discounts and specials. For instance, customers can put together their own six-packs from the hundreds of varieties of beer the store carries and buy multiple bottles from an inventory of 4000 wines at discounts. It’s easy to see why Star Liquors has such a large and loyal customer base. But Mike and Tamara say the store’s continuing success is part of a bigger picture. From the start, Stan Crapo embraced a broader mission for Star Liquors that included a positive workplace culture, competitive living wages, medical and dental insurance, paid vacations, and maternity leave. Crapo wanted to be a supportive, ‘good neighbor’ to other area businesses, and to contribute generously to the community at large.
“This bigger picture has been part of Star Liquors’ focus for decades now,” says Mike. “And we recognize that we are only as good as our employees. Another reason Star Liquors is so successful is the overall attitude of staff. It’s a fast-paced environment but our staff members are proud to work here and to participate in the ways we support so many local non-profits. We donate straight out of our profits to so many organizations that it’s hard to keep track.”
Among them are the Adaptive Sports Association, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado, VFW, Durango Art Center, Durango Choral Society, Music in the Mountains, Leadership LaPlata, Mercy Home Health and Hospice, SOS Outreach, United Way of Southwest Colorado, Volunteers of America, I Am Music, Women’s Resource Center, Parker’s Animal Rescue, Search and Rescue, Manna Soup Kitchen, Humane Society, various educational programs, the library, and more.
“We try not to turn anybody away,” Mike says. Mike and Tamara worry about recent legislation that now allows Colorado grocery stores to sell wine, because the resulting loss of revenue for Star Liquors will inevitably negatively affect their ability to give at the levels they are accustomed to.
Check out Star Liquors extensive inventory online through their app, or in person. Learn about ordering online and additional services Star Liquors offers, for example: customizing wine and spirits for events, dinner parties, and more. When you stop in, be sure to meet Bubbles, Mike and Tamara’s friendly fur baby and Floor Manager.