By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
When times changed, so did Diamonds Liquor. When trends changed, so did Diamonds Liquor. When consumer tastes changed, yes, you guessed it, so did Diamonds Liquor.
The original owners, the Diamond family, capitalized on a huge shift in American political and cultural sentiment when they opened the store in Sea Isle City in 1934. It was just months after Prohibition was repealed and Americans emerged from the speakeasies to resume – legally, at least – consuming alcoholic beverages.
After a nearly 70-year run by the Diamond family, local businessman and developer Christopher Glancey bought the store in 2003. The switch in ownership began what would be a dramatic transformation of the store at 4009 Landis Avenue, in the heart of the downtown business district.
Glancey demolished the crumbling original building in 2009 and opened a larger, modern store at the same location in 2010.
“The place was falling apart,” Glancey recalled of the old building. “It had been flooded numerous times. It was a mess.”
Customers now walk into a spacious store that features the largest selection of beer, wine, spirits and cigars in town. Diamonds Liquor touts itself as “Your pour, at the Shore.”
The inventory reflects the evolving national and local trends in the liquor and cigar business. For instance, Diamonds Liquor caught on early with the growing popularity of craft beers, Glancey explained.
“We try to provide what the customers want. For example, craft beers,” he said. “When I bought the store in 2003, people were not buying craft beer. Now, craft beer represents 25 percent of the market.”
A wide selection of craft beers, including brands from local breweries, fills the display case. Patrons who want to experiment with different brands of craft beer may customize their own six-packs.
“You can buy six different singles to see which one you like. It’s very popular,” Glancey said of the make-your-own six-packs.
The store also stocks an array of chilled wines to cater to the customers who enjoy another trend in the bustling summer vacation resort – dining out at Sea Isle’s BYOB restaurants.
“Our location in the center of town is great for the customers who go to the BYOB restaurants,” Glancey said. “We have people who come in for cold wines. We have so much walk-in traffic.”
For occasional smokers, cigar aficionados and everyone in between, Diamonds Liquor offers a wide selection of premium cigars and pipe tobacco in its climate-controlled humidors.
“We’ve got the largest selection of cigars on the island,” Glancey noted. “There are three full-size humidors. We have over 100 different varieties of cigars.”
Although cigarette smoking has declined nationwide, the growing popularity of cigar smoking, particularly among younger men, is another way Diamonds Liquor has adapted to emerging trends in the marketplace.
“As the market changes, we have to change with it to make sure we have what people want,” Glancey said.
Diamonds Liquor is located at 4009 Landis Ave. in Sea Isle City. For more information, visit www.diamondsliquor.com or call (609) 263-8411.