JJ’s Wine to build larger store, expand with bar, event space

By Jodi Schwan

JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars is planning a significantly larger new store, which includes event space, a bar and outdoor seating.

The 10,000-square-foot building is planned for part of the former Hidden Valley Stables property, off 57th Street between Western and Louise avenues.

JJ’s owner Tom Slattery said his business has enjoyed 36 months of consecutive growth at his 3,600-square-foot location on Western Avenue south of 57th Street. But he and neighbor Starbucks are both out of space.

And while he thought about doing a second or third location, “it keeps going back to how much can I spread myself out,” he said. “I can’t be more than one place, so why not build a destination location a half-mile from where we’re currently at?”

The new store will build on Slattery’s goal of creating “an adult-beverage emporium,” adding a 70-seat event facility for private wine dinners, tastings and corporate functions, plus a full-service commercial kitchen.

There will be a separate bar and seating area for JJ’s patrons, which will include a bakery.

Slattery’s wife, Jean, left the food business 10 years ago to raise their children and is returning as their youngest prepares to graduate.

“We can’t think of a better combination than sweets and alcohol. It’s going to be fun,” Slattery said. “You can get desserts and have a cocktail at the same time.”

While he will be able to do full-service catering and likely will serve appetizers or small plates at the bar, “We aren’t interested in being a restaurant,” he said.

The location off the bike trail is ideal for outdoor gatherings, he added.

“Music will be a huge fit and outdoor events, beer and bike events. The ideas are endless.”

The building kicks off development of the 12-acre Hidden Valley property for Norm Drake, CEO of Legacy Developments, who is marketing the rest of it.

A 15,000-square-foot retail building with a drive-thru is planned for the front of the site.

“Right now, we’ve got good interest from multiple prospective tenants,” Drake said.

The remainder of the site is planned as office space.

“The hope is to get several office tenants, two larger ones in the back and either sell them the land – they’re about 4-acre tracts – or do a design-build with a lease,” Drake said.

Slattery said he hopes his concept “will create some excitement among the rest of the tenants.”

JJ’s has been at its current location since 2006. Slattery bought it in 2011 from Tom Howes, who opened it in one of his Gas Stop locations in 1998.

“We really have prided ourselves on creating a pleasing shopping experience,” Slattery said. “I’m not just going to run a liquor store. We’re going to create an adult-beverage retail environment based on education and fun and customer service and pricing stability. Just different.”

He plans to start construction in September and open next spring. His current location will be available to lease.

“It’s a good opportunity in a high-traffic location,” said Raquel Blount of Lloyd Cos., who has it listed. “It’s a premier corner across from The Bridges and near the soccer fields, so it’s a good opportunity for a business to locate and get a lot of visibility”

JJ’s Wine to build larger store, expand with bar, event space

JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars is planning a significantly larger new store, which include event space, a bar and outdoor seating.

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