Cousins Sergey Kalantarov and Yair Pinkhasov grew up next to one another and have been business partners as adults. Yet they never envisioned owning a liquor store together.
But as fate would have it, the two saw an opportunity when the previous owner of Roslyn Wine & Liquor was looking to sell. Located at 1366 Old Northern Blvd. in Roslyn, the store was struggling, they said.
“I’ve had some real estate transactions and some real estate work done here, but I have completely underestimated Roslyn,” said Pinkhasov. “And this particular store was a complete eye opener — an opportunity that’s so niche. To be able to cater to the people here is our biggest agenda right now.”
On Oct. 16, the duo received the keys to the building. To capitalize on the upcoming holiday season, the two immediately set a goal for themselves: reinvent, redesign and reopen the store by Nov. 6.
Pinkhasov said the process required a lot of “love” to give the community a location to be proud of. Everything, the two said, was hand-picked by them, from the chandeliers to the whiteness of the lighting to the new selections.
“The level of commitment is what makes this place,” said Pinkhasov. “I’m still not a heavy drinker. I wasn’t a drinker of wines at all. But owning a liquor store has made me appreciate the beauty of wines and the wine selections and where they’re from and how to cater to others.”
The two cousins achieved their goal, and Roslyn Wine & Liquor reopened on Nov. 6. Despite their pride on that day, Pinkhasov said that the duo’s actual work began afterward.
“A grand opening is a great wedding,” he said. “A marriage is what follows. We’re looking for a great marriage.”
The store offers an extensive selection of unique wines, bourbons and other alcoholic beverages, as well as a large collection of kosher alcohol. Pinkhasov said to succeed they had to conduct research on competitors and determine where they could make improvements.
While many other stores will only work with the largest distributors, the two said they sought quality wherever they could find it. Pinkhasov said even if it means leaving a bottle on the shelf for an extended period, they want customers to know if it exists, they’ll have it, and if they don’t, they’ll find it.
“I’m interested in stocking up the store with things I haven’t heard of,” said Kalantarov. “I don’t know everything. [Pinkhasov] doesn’t know everything. [Our manager] doesn’t know everything. But we’re interested. We definitely want to hear more.”
The store currently hosts free wine tastings every weekend. The two also plan to expand their events offerings to include sip and paint classes and other gatherings.
“Roslyn has truly inspired us,” said Pinkhasov. “It has inspired us to do great things. Though this is our first liquor store, this isn’t our first venture together.”
Along with success in the store, the owners want to become involved in the community. This includes hosting events in collaboration with other retail stores and restaurants.
“The beautiful thing about the liquor business is it’s such a lucrative one,” said Pinkhasov. “When you’re in a great mood, you celebrate and have a drink. You’re in a crappy mood and depressed? You drink and hope for better days.”
One can follow the store on Facebook and Instagram for more details on new offerings and events.