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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on January 26, 2000. All rights

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Liquor Store Lesson: Business Plans Work

Varsity Liquor’s Scott Pollack can’t turn water

into wine, but he did turn $225 into $160,000. That’s how little it

cost him to join the Entrepreneurial Training Institute, an eight-week

course that shows prospective business owners how to polish their

business plan. Pollack and his wife, Kathy, wrote the plan together,

and as a result of their panel review presentation at ETI, the

Pollacks

were able to secure a $160,000 loan from Summit Bank. They purchased

the liquor store at 234 Nassau Street in October, 1999.

ETI’s eight-week spring session begins in Trenton on Tuesday, February

22, at the Human Resources Development Institute on Woolverton Avenue,

and kicks off at nine locations throughout the state during February

and March. Classes are once a week, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and

graduates

are eligible for financing from a revolving loan fund established

by the New Jersey Development Authority, ETI’s sponsoring

organization.

Call 609-292-9279.

A wine importer and wholesaler in Trenton for 15 years, Pollack says

that ETI helped him enormously. "After the first night I was kind

of hooked," says Pollack, who has a degree in hotel and restaurant

management from RIT, Class of 1983. "We were looking into buying

the store and we knew a little bit about business but we’d never done

anything on our own. There’s a lot of things you don’t think of coming

into the business, a lot of behind the scenes stuff to running a

business."

Like payroll taxes, insurance, and shopping for credit card pricing,

says Pollack. ETI’s trainer Ron G. Cook, an associate professor

in small business and entrepreneurship at Rider, also made Pollack

take a closer look at his business plan to see what was overlooked.

Pollack was directed to the New Jersey Department of Taxation, where

he began perusing sales records of other liquor stores in the area.

"I had asked different wholesalers what kind of business they

were doing in town, and they don’t give you the exact figures,"

he says. "So we found out which stores in town are doing good

business, which ones aren’t doing good business."

From there, Pollack identified a niche market. "Princeton has

a reputation for gouging its customers and we’re going the opposite

direction," says Pollack. ETI also helped the Pollacks revitalize

their cash flow while at the same time putting money back into the

business. "To get the business up and running we decided to put

it all back into in advertising, which no other liquor store does,

and inventory. Ron Cook said that’s the way to approach it if you’re

going to be there long term."

Pollack’s advice: 1.) Don’t think you know everything; and 2.) do

the research.

"Everything we’ve done so far has been kind of the right

move,"

says Pollack. "There’s a lot more involved to running a business

than putting the key in the door and opening up."


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