Thursday, September 01, 2011

Binny’s Beverage Depot Of Chicago Continues Aggressive Expansion

(by Shanken News Daily)Binny’s Beverage Depot owner Michael Binstein plans to open two new stores this year in the greater Chicago market. In the last four years alone, he has expanded his beverage alcohol retail business from 19 to 25 stores, and now ranks as the leading independent retailer in Illinois. Binstein recently spoke with Shanken News Daily about his business, which will surpass $250 million in revenues in its fiscal year ending July 31.

SND: In the last four years, you’ve expanded from 19 stores to 25 stores, mostly through acquisition during a very difficult economy. Has your investment paid off?

Binstein: The honest answer is that the investment is paying off. Time is the ultimate test, and one needs a certain amount of humility. But there’s not a single acquisition, store opening or expansion of our model that I would take back.

SND: How has Binny’s been affected by the downturn in the economy?

Binstein: The best time to run into a market is when everyone is running for the exit doors. I think we’re contrarians by nature. Our most dramatic growth has occurred since the Cassandras and the pundits sounded the death knell for our economy in general and our industry in particular. Then there’s the fact that when you sign 99-year leases, which we do as a matter of practice when we can’t buy our own property, you’d better be prepared to ride out the business cycles that will always be a part of life. You can’t be a summer soldier and be in business. We monitor certain things every day, and one of them is customer count. The number of people actually walking through our front doors has been showing double-digit growth. Market share is healthy and growing. Sales have been helping growth, but all things considered, I think customer count is the single most important vital sign for all three tiers of our industry—not just for retail and not just for Binny’s.

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