One of the first things Walter Lowe did upon purchasing the Wine and Spirit Shoppe on Atlantic Avenue in Lynbrook was install a television.
The reason behind this was twofold. First, he’s a huge Knicks fan and wanted to make sure he didn’t miss a minute of the action while on the job. Secondly, he wanted his shop to have a social, community-like atmosphere.
“I’m kind of a talker,” Lowe said. “Most of the people who come in have been willing to listen to my conversation and put their own spin on it. We’ve had some really great conversations here, which is one of the reasons why I really like this store. It’s not the kind of store that you run into, grab a bottle, and get out. You can come in and spend a little time.”
Before purchasing the shop in December, Lowe spent the last five years managing his family’s liquor store in Queens. In 2011, he decided he wanted to become an owner.
“I wanted to do it on my own so I didn’t have to get anyone’s permission to make purchase choices,” Lowe said.
The Queens store was in the Lowe family for 20 years before recently being sold. The owner’s experience selling wine and spirits gives him a unique perspective on the changing nature of the business.
“There are many more varieties of wines and spirits,” he said. “It’s made [the business] much more competitive, but it also has helped keep prices down, so there is something available in everyone’s price range.”
The shops inventory features items from $7 to over $100.
Earlier this month, Town of Hempstead Senior Councilman Anthony J. Santino joined members of the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce to welcome Lowe to Atlantic Ave.
The decision to settle in Lynbrook was not one made on a whim. Lowe researched locations everywhere from Manhattan to Smithtown. But he said nothing quite matched the charm of the little shop on Atlantic Avenue.
“It doesn’t look like the traditional liquor store,” Lowe said. “It’s primarily a wine shop that also handles a variety of spirits. It has a very laid back décor.”
Besides installing the television, Lowe expanded the sprits section of the shop. The store now carries a larger selection of single malt scotch, vodkas, whiskeys, and bourbons. According to Lowe, Jamison Irish Whisky, Kettle One Vodka, and Macallan Single Malt Scotch are his top selling items.
Lowe hopes that, on top of catering to the liquor needs of Lynbrook, his store will serve to educate his customer base on the area he’s devoted his life to.
“I really like to think of it more as a wine boutique than just a liquor store,” Lowe said. “It’s a place that you can come in almost any day and get a sample of different wines and, during the weekends, I always have bottles open [for sampling]. You can learn about the different wine and spirits, as opposed to just coming in and buying something.”
The Wine and Spirit Shoppe is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 10a.m to 9 p.m.