Friday February 9, 2018

5 Points Wine & Liquor Opens at Forks of Road in Port City

Business partners clean up former Woodshed site in Oswego
By Lou Sorendo

    Atom Avery, left, and Mark Donabella

    There are many options when you come to the forks in the road.


    For entrepreneurs and business partners Atom Avery and Mark Donabella, they have literally established a new business at what is commonly known as the “forks in the road” on the west side of Oswego.


    The business is 5 Points Wine & Liquor, 1 Washington Boulevard, located adjacent to West Bridge Street (state Route 104 West).


    The partners have known each other since the third grade in Oswego’s own Leighton Elementary School.


    “Actually, I’ve been interested in the wine and liquor business for a long time,” said Avery, noting he approached other liquor stores in the city about 10 years ago to find out what their future plans were.


    When a fire destroyed Paura’s Liquor Store on West Bridge Street last May, it left a void in the local market. That void deepened when Paura’s decided not to rebuild or reopen.


    “That opened the door for a replacement liquor store,” Avery said.


    The store’s sales floor features 2,000 square feet of space and features roughly 1,900 items and more than 40,000 bottles.


    Both partners are involved in the local real estate market as investors. They are also planning to create a convenience store adjacent to the business that formerly served as a kitchen.


    The new convenience store will feature products that complement the wine and liquor business, such as mixers, sodas, tonics, ice and beer.


    Avery noted the convenience store will make the business a “one-stop” shop for those planning special events and parties.


    Plans flow smoothly: Donabella noted one of the foremost challenges in launching the business was dealing with the flood of distributors and their sales representatives.


    While there are two major distributors — Southern Wine & Spirits and Empire Merchants North — there are several reps selling different products.


    “The process was overwhelming at first. However, taking the time to meet and plan our initial orders with our sales representatives proved to be rewarding,” Donabella said.


    In terms of staffing, the owners hired three employees from the former Paura’s Liquor Store. One of the employees, Ann Yablonski, has worked for more than 18 years in the wine and liquor industry.


    On Feb. 22, the store will be offering a unique experience in the form of a bourbon seminar.


    Bourbon isn’t the only featured spirit on the shelves at 5 Points. The store also carries Ryze vodka, an award-winning beverage that is produced by Lock 1 Distilling County in Phoenix. There will be tastings set up to showcase Ryze and more throughout the year.


    Avery noted there is a market for people who desire New York state wines. White wines in particular have been very popular.


    While the two major distributors carry all the well-known brand names, the store partners will work with many local wineries that handle their own distribution.


    As a result, 5 Points carries New York state favorites, including Colloca Estate, Thousand Islands and Heron Hill wineries, all based in New York state. Many wine enthusiasts are loyal to particular wineries.


    “They want to support them, and we do too,” Avery said.


    Both owners are native Oswegonians.


    Avery is the owner of Avery Rental Properties, All Seasons Inn, The Beacon Hotel and co-owner of The Gardens by Morningstar, an assisted living facility in Oswego.

    Donabella, who was a schoolteacher for 12 years, now owns rental properties in Oswego.