A few days ago I was reading the PJ Star online and came across an article by MBIP pal, Steve Tarter that reported that Stan’s Wine’s and Spirits is closing! I’ve been buying booze from Stan my whole life, so I discarded my idea for today’s post and decided to go get some last photos of Stan’s liquor store and buy one last six pack from him. To the MBIP Mobile!
All the roads are still really fucked up from last winters unrelenting snow and cold temperatures and I can't tell you how much time I've wasted sitting in construction areas like this. Cue up the Eagles.
Through the miracle of the interwebs you're spared a ten minute wait at a construction intersection and another hold-up where there was an accident that turned what should have been a five minute drive into a Zombie-like Oddessy and Oracle driving hell experience. Long story short: 23 long fucking paralyzing, mind-bending minutes and we're finally here at Stan's. Sheesh!
I hate to see Stan retire out of personal reasons because I'll miss seeing him inside this store, but knowing him, he'll keep busy and I'll keep you updated on what he's doing here on MBIP.
Let's go in and see what's happening in here.
There he is, Stan the Man, waiting on a customer behind the counter. Let's go up and say, "Howdy Doody."
Ladies and gentlemen: Stan Komen! Stan told me he's been very busy since he announced he's closing and that a lot of people have been coming in to wish him the best. Stan is truly one of the friendliest and nicest shop owners I've ever met and I'm going to miss coming in here to shoot the shit with Stan.
Stan generously gave me a bottle of wine and thanked me for the mentions here on MBIP. What a nice gesture, Stan is pure class!
Let's take one last look around in here.
For all you wine enthusiasts out there you should come in and check out this wall of wine while you can, great bargains here. Looking at this wall always makes me think of this SNL sketch.
Ha ha ha! I think Helen Wait is a cousin to this Helen.
I've always loved the "Stan Sez" signs that are hung around the store in a fun willy-nilly fashion.
Some of the Stan Sez signs are recommendations...
Others are humorous, like this one. Hang on, Stan, your stress-free time is just around the corner!
Here's Evan, who's worked for Stan for eight years. I asked him what he's going to do when the doors close and he told me he wasn't quite sure. Hey Evan, Stan Sez: "Welcome to the wonderful world of unemployment!"
Okay, time to buy my last six pack at Stan's.
Yikes, check out the price of this beer! Demon beer alert!
The last six pack from Stan's.
Here it is safely tucked away in the MBIP fridge next to the remaining duo of Kite Tail bottles generously donated by MBIP pal, Contributor and Wheel Man, Scott Turley.
People of Peoria—Stan Komen
I’ve decided to start a new feature here at MBIP and it’s going to be called, “People of Peoria.” That was the name of the magazine I started back in 1990 and it was that magazine that led me out to New York for 19 years. Now that I’m back, I thought I’d resurrect the People of Peoria idea and every now and again do a more in-depth interview with someone who’s living in Peoria and has made or is making some sort of mark on this city. I did an interview with Stan a while back and I thought I’d run it again for this debut feature.
MBIP: When did you open your first store and how old were you?
Stan: I opened the first store in 1969 when I purchased Sheridan Village Liquors in Sheridan Village. I was 30 years old. I was married to a former Peoria girl and came back to her hometown.
What do you remember from your first day open and what have you learned from your years of owning your own store?
From owning my own store I have learned that people make the difference. Technology may change, people don't.
Have you ever been robbed?
I was robbed once in Sheridan Village by a small man with a large shotgun. As is our policy, we provided him with excellent service and unfortunately all our cash. He was never caught. I am happy to report we never met again.
You have a background in journalism, what's the story there...no pun intended!
I have a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. I met my wife while at college and my motto was "I never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Who's some of your favorite writers?
I am an avid reader. My favorite author is Somerset Maugham. To this day I don't feel any writer is as equal for character and emotional impact.
One of my favorite writers is Hunter Thompson. What do you think he would've bought had he visited Stan's Liquors?
The late Hunter Thompson is considered one of America's writers. If he had visited my liquor store I would have made a fortune....he was an alcoholic!
Do you have a favorite Peoria restaurant?
Steak and Shake is among my favorites. I love food, Sara Lee is mentioned in my will.
What's your favorite drink?
When working my favorite drink is water. Out socially, it depends on who's buying...I can be very social!
I've been buying beer from you since I was about sixteen years old with a fake I.D. Do you have any other customers that have been buying beer from you this long?
Has the statute of limitations expired on your crime...you should be flogged for jeopardizing my license! I've had two generations of customers who I have watched grow up. Loyalty is a great thing.
How many people through the years do you estimate you've employed? Do you keep in touch with many of them?
I have employed hundreds of full and part-time associates. Many of my stockboys were hired from Bergan and Notre Dame. Most of them went to college and successfully graduated and one went to jail. I frequently hear from the former but not the latter.
What was the average cost of a six pack of beer in 1969 and what is the price these days?
I can't remember the price in 1969, however, when I started in business my waist was 30 inches and today it is closer to 40. My zipper looks like it is part of Amtrak.
What's something that people would be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I am 50% deaf. Consequently, when greeted by: "How are you Stan?" I usually reply: "It's about a quarter of three.” People usually do seem understanding of my reply.
If you could change something in Peoria, what would it be?
If I could change anything in Peoria...I wish Interstate 55 was constructed through our community instead of Bloomington. It would have made Peoria a major trading area in downstate Illinois. It was a missed opportunity.
And finally, to get all James Lipton on your ass...what's your favorite curse word?
Gee whiz, golly. I had an Ozzie and Harriet upbringing!
Thanks for the years of booze and friendly service Stan! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Stan’s Wine & Spirits
1108 W Glen Avenue
Stan estimates that he’ll be open for around another month or so. He’s not closing till all his inventory is gone. If you want to stop by for some bargain booze, now is the time!
Related Posts: Shop Local Because Chain Stores Suck Monkey Lungs And Often Smell Of Stale Ass: Stan’s Wine & Spirits Store and The Twelve Shops Of Christmas, Part Two! (Complete With An Exclamation Mark To Note The Excitedness Of It All!)
Bonus Swizzle Stick Set From Jaws the Cabbie!
In honor of Stan’s retirement, Jaws the Cabbie sent in this illustration of a Salty Sam and Capt. Jinks swizzle stick set. Beautiful, Thanks, Jaws!