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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on January 26, 2000. All rights
Liquor Store Lesson: Business Plans Work
Varsity Liquor’s Scott Pollack
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
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
are eligible for financing from a revolving loan fund established
by the New Jersey Development Authority, ETI’s sponsoring
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
Like payroll taxes, insurance, and shopping for credit card pricing,
says Pollack. ETI’s trainer Ron G. Cook
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
"Everything we’ve done so far has been kind of the right
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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