By Jennifer Pauly
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President
Supermarket Liquors and Wines was chosen as the 2016 River Region Partnership Award recipient.
This award was created in 2013 by the chamber staff to recognize a business or organization that supports the Niagara River Region Chamber's mission of business development, improving quality of life and preserving the history and culture of the region, while actively participating in its initiatives.
T. Chris Castellani began Supermarket Liquors and Wines at the corner of Military Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard in December of 1984. The plaza location previously housed a Jenss small appliance store. It became available in November of that year.
Having learned the retail business and work ethic from his father, Armand J. Castellani, Chris wasted no time in opening his business.
His more than 10 years of liquor store management experience soon outpaced the original 9,200 square feet of available floor space. Expansion took place in 1994 and again in 2004, as the store took over storage space from the previous plaza anchor store, Media Play.
Growing to 22,000 feet, another major renovation took place this past year, complete with new flooring, shelves, LED lighting and front doors. The store's president's and manager's offices and its staff break room also just completed major renovations.
Castellani has expanded his inventory over the years. Supermarket Liquors and Wines offers a wide selection of wines and liquors. The local wine, vodka and bourbon selections have steadily increased with the growing Niagara Wine Trail. Castellani's customers range from locals to a steady Canadian base and the summer tourist crowd. Unique liquors and cordials are carried to cater to the tastes of tourists and customers.
Castellani employs a marketing strategy that includes weekly ads placed throughout Western New York and Canada to showcase the store's promotions. A mix of newspaper, TV, radio and tourist publications, as well as word of mouth, is the marketing formula that has worked to bring in customers. He is also involved in the state's Retail Liquor Association and several local chambers and business associations.
Castellani has traveled throughout the country and says people in this part of New York are the finest he has known - and they make it a pleasure to have his business here.
There are currently 33 full- and part-time employees at Supermarket Liquors. Janice Salerno, the store's general manager and Castellani's longest-term employee, has been working at Supermarket Liquors for 31 years. Castellani attributes the success of where he is today to the great work of his management staff and employees. New York has many regulations and strict laws covering his business, which the staff works hard to abide by.
Commitment and giving back to the community is something that was instilled in Castellani by his father, and is often reminded to him by longtime friend Sandy Hays-Mies. The list of organizations that benefit from the generosity of Castellani, his family and business includes: Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, the Niagara University scholarship program, Gliding Stars, the Salvation Army, Stella Niagara, the Red Cross, Toys for Tots, Hospice, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, the Niagara Falls Firefighters Toy Fund, the Castellani Art Museum, the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club and Mercy Flight.
Castellani has also contributed significantly to the Lewiston Tour of Homes and Tour of Kitchens, the Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival and Artpark.
Besides his first major accomplishment of his family, son Brandon and wife Helen, his second biggest accomplishment will be the giving of more than $1 million back to this community in donations by the time he retires.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce proudly congratulates Castellani and Supermarket Liquors and Wines for dedication to the chamber and the community. We are fortunate to have him and his store.