By Susan Elise Campbell
Madira Wine & Spirits has been filling a gap in the smattering of liquor stores in Clifton Park since it opened last fall. Located at 643 Grooms Road, owner Bruce Patel said he knew that with the right location, his business model could be successful.
“A friend lives nearby and I used to stop by the Stewart’s Plaza, which is a very busy area,” he said. “I saw that there is little opportunity to buy liquor on this side of Clifton Park bordering Rexford.”
Patel said if looking at a map of Clifton Park, most liquor stores are “oddly concentrated in one side of the town. Based on my feasibility study factoring in demographics and growth, I was serving a real void here near the crossing of Vischer Ferry Road,” he said.
“I was always looking to do something on my own,” said Patel, who had been in a corporate career as an engineer with various companies in the Capital Region.
“My father did well with his own liquor store in Massachusetts when I was younger,” he said. “I’m a very proactive guy and had my eye on this location for our store even before the space became available.”
Patel said that “80 percent of my decision to leave my corporate job and go forward” with the new venture was the location. It is part of a bustling plaza and very visible from Route 9.
“It’s not just about driving by and stopping in once for a purchase,” he said. “I want this to be a destination store.”
The population has been growing around Rexford and there is spillover from the center of Clifton Park heading in his direction, with more development taking place nearby, according to Patel.
A senior community across the street has 287 units and a growing number of residents are among his new customer base, he said.
“Seniors are among the biggest catalysts for growth at Madira,” said Patel. “Many of them have limited mobility, so I believe this shop is adding significant value to the community. We want to provide convenience and accessibility along with reasonable prices for customers so that we become a destination of choice.”
He said feedback from surrounding neighborhoods has been good. Patel is letting his customers determine his product offerings, so “customer feedback is driving inventory,” he said. “It is easy, especially in a brand new business, to tie up money in products people don’t want.”
He initially stocked the common brands that most people drink. Within a few weeks of the launch, Patel discovered “Clifton Park is big into high-end red wines and bourbons.”
While an engineer in his previous career, Patel also ran an internet retail business on the side, an experience that helped him learn social media marketing for Madira, he said.
Patel said he has made a few renovations to the space, which had been leased previously by a tailor. He took down two interior walls, removed carpeting, and installed new flooring.
The name “Madira” comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit and translates to “intoxicating beverage.” For hours of operation, specials and wine tastings, search “madiracp” on Facebook.