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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Has Happened To Roosevelt Island's Grog Shop Liquor Store?

Image of Grog Shop from Spatial Design
A reader asks:
Grog Shop
What has happened here? You used to be able to pick up a bottle of wine in an emergency, but the stock is now much reduced and very weird.
Don't know if this is the cause of problem but Archie Seale the owner of the Grog Shop passed away last September.

According to RIOC's Proposed Budget for fiscal year 2010-11 (Page 11) , the Grog shop is paying $32 per square foot for 1,545 sq. ft of space on a lease thru February 2023.

29 comments :

Anonymous said...

I thought Archie had retired some time before his death. I don't know the relationship, if any, between him and the current owners or operators.

yasser esmail said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The current owners are related to Archie. They are open to suggestions, so please feel free to make them.

Anonymous said...

How do we make suggestions to them? I'm not looking for an Astor Wines on the island (although that would be amazing), but I would also like to be able to buy a bottle (that doesn't taste like BBQ sauce) in a pinch.

Anonymous said...

The Grog shop is still pretty good. I am a 27.5 year resident of WV and knew Archie, etc.

This is NOT Manhattan and we don't need an Astor Wines here.

There are quite a few wines in the Grog Shop that a good right now.

You go in and talk to Len, who helps run the Shop and give him suggestions, not your snotty attitudes.

Maybe you should go back and live in Manhattan, then you could be real close to an Astor Wine Shop.

There is a Crush Store on E. 57th Street, however these Vendors depend on most of us Residents to try and buy something from them, so they can remain in operation.

JMS
WV

Anonymous said...

JMS, doesn't the store look a bit odd to you? I never see anyone in there. They can't be making any money. In the early days (I'm a 33-year resident) the store was small, but had some variety, with wine that one could reasonably expect to buy in New York City. Until very recently, I could count on a simple sauvignon blanc, but not anymore. Now, it looks as pathetic as the rest of the few remaining stores on Main Street. The population of the island is larger now than it used to be, and I'm sure it could support a small, but normal wine and liquor store, and a better supermarket, if it were possible to get rid of Gristede's. There is nothing I want to buy in the Grog Shop as it is stocked now, and I'm not even a drinker of expensive wine. We stock up at Hunter's Point Wines on Vernon Blvd., where the owner really cares and makes an effort to source reasonably priced, but good wines.

It's your attitude that is snotty, by the way. The rest of us simply feel that Roosevelt Island deserves better. I'm just asking, once again, why we can't have the services that every other NYC neighborhood has.

(The comment, above, about the rent and the long lease, makes me wonder about the deal Gristede's has.)

Anonymous said...

The Main Street situation is a joke. Southtown is bustling. Why can't they fix Main Street?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Southtown doesn't have NY State and RIOC holding it back. There was a law passed after a major giveaway upstate that has had the unforeseen and surely unintended consequence of making it next to impossible for small businesses to open stores on Roosevelt Island. An exception needs to be made for this locality.

I think it would help the island if the head of RIOC were required to live on Roosevelt Island.

JPH said...

JMS, what's up with the reflexive Islander old-timer backlash? It's so lame and predictable.

Get a grip. Grog Shop is a half-ass wine store at best. I buy a lot of wine and don't even bother with Grog Shop. It's really not that tough to stock a shop with basic, decent wines. And yet, they don't.

Anonymous said...

Since Archie died, his relatives have taken over. They did not want the business to fold. But, they are not that experienced and that's why I suggested earlier for you folks who drink to go in and suggest the wines and liquors you would like to see there & they WILL get it for you.

They're trying to turn around a business that was dying with Archie. Be good neighbors and help them succeed with your constructive suggestions on what they should stock or how the place should look. They will welcome your neighborly suggestions.

Try it. ou might be pleased with the end results.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a retailer, and have absolutely no experience, except as a customer, in the wine business, and feel very reluctant to offer unasked-for advice, especially since I strongly suspect that there are all sorts of ins and outs of this particular business that are completely unknown to me. Haven't the new owners ever been inside a normal wine store? Isn't there any way someone knowledgeable can offer some genuine guidance? I'm not the one. (That question could be asked of any of the other store owners, come to think of it.)

Anonymous said...

If they are unable to run the current business they should just close it or sell it to somebody who knows how to run it. How does it help if I went inside and suggested what wines I'd like to see? I am not a retailer, I do not know how the wine business works. Right now it looks like the current owners just go to Costco and buy inventory from there.

Anonymous said...

RIGHT...That's what we need, another vacant storefront on Roosevelt Island. If you aren't going to try to be part of the solution, then you are obviously part of the problem on this island.

You don't have to be a wine expert to make a suggestion. I did, and they now stock the white win I like. Stop belly-aching and help your neighbor out.

Anonymous said...

New poster here. When I go to a wine store I want to discover new wines to try. I want to be able to discuss the wines in stock with the sales person and see what I want to try next. If this is all about just getting the same bottles you always drink, then yes, your approach (2:40pm poster) would work. It is not optimal, though. I think the Grog Store should hire somebody who knows how to run a wine retail business.

Anonymous said...

I am the JMS poster and I was trying to be snotty, I was trying to leave a good suggestion about going in and speaking with Len, the person who now helps run the Store- the Grog Shop.

The poster before me, stating about "Astor Wines" being so much better, etc. I felt was snotty.

I am tired of alot of the attitudes now on RI.

I, too, welcome new stores on the Older Part of Main Street, as long as the original Plan is stuck to, i.e. having small family- like stores that we could ALL frequent.

Archie did run the Store well and the new Owners are trying- there may be reasons you don't know about.

Maybe they are having some difficulities, we are in a Recession, you may have heard about it.

RIOC could be giving them problems with their rent and Lease.

They are open to any suggestions- just go in and tell them what particular wines you like.

The Grog Shop needs the Resident's support, or it, too will go under and we may have another Vacant Storefront on the original part of Main Street and that will NOT be a good thing.

RIOC has yet to fill in the Pizza place, the Bakery that stood on the Eastwood - "Roosevelt Landings" complex.

We should all be able to get along and live peacefully on this tiny Island, we all did before.

It will get harder here when the Tram is out of service and if more new Residents come in.

I agree with the Poster- be part of a Solution instead of the Problem.

This Community has always fought back for whatever we have thought was important in the past and that cannot be lost, that is the Essence of Roosevelt Island.

I am a long term resident who has fought for this Island in the past and will continue to do so while I still reside here.


JMS-WV-27.5 years.

Have a nice Sat. evening

Anonymous said...

Hey, kids, let's paint the barn and put on a show!

Anonymous said...

I am the Astor Wines fan.

The reason I like Astor is that they have a great selection and there is always staff available to help me pick out a good bottle of wine - and when I don't feel like trying anything new - they have what I know I like.

While I can suggest the brands I know to the Grog Shop, I can't rely on it for the discovery of anything new - BUT I don't expect to have that experience here - if I want that, I'll go downtown.

I will make a suggestion to the owner the next time I'm in the Grog Shop.... but one has to wonder if he knows we're dissatisfied. Does he read this blog? Does he listen to what people say on the island? If he does, and has not changed, then there are bigger issues at play.

A business owner should know his community and try to grow with them. A lot of scary new people have moved onto the island and yes, they are GASP more affluent in some cases. It is the job of the business owner to grow with the community and provide products for all people in it. It will only serve him and everyone else better in the end, because, hey, we all like to drink.

Anonymous said...

Hi to the Astor Wine Fan,

I am JMS-WV-27.5 years.

I understand what you are saying and do appreciate it, I really didn't mean to be snotty or disrepectful.

I wrote in my last post-that it could be the Grog Shop is having problems with RIOC, finances, what have you- we are in a Recession and alot of us are really struggling.

I never said the newer Affluent people were scary- it was the attitudes alot of us who first came here when not many people want to who notice the differences.

Alot of the original Vendors were in the original plans for the first development of this Island.

I, too think we need improvement, but not total removal of Stores that have been here for 25-30 years.

The new Owners, I believe family of Archie Seale-the last owner, may not have time to read this Blog.

Archie Seale was a dear friend of mine and our Family and lots of Islanders, he wanted his Legacy to go on with the Grog Shop, I think we should try to remeber that.

I wrote a post on here in September-2009, when I learned he passed away.

We really need to come together as whole as a Community- not just a bunch of separate complexes, we were like that on Roosevelt Island and would like to see that again.

We have really big problems facing us- like the Tram being down for about six mos. and the major tranportation problems that will cause.

RIOC doesn't have a new Head yet, WV is fighting hard to keep this complex "affordable".

We must remember why this tiny little Island was originally founded by Ed Logue and the Nelson Rockefeller Administration back in 1968- to create " Safe, Affordable Housing for EVERYONE."

I am a New York City native, there is no place like this in the city, I was raised in the Bronx, lived in Manhattan, we have a real sense of Community here and we Should not and Cannot lose that.

Thank you.

Everybody- band together- not further apart to save and make Roosevelt Island a better place in the next few years.

JMS

Anonymous said...

I think RI will have a better chance to grow and adjust by losing its small-town mentality and finally integrate into New York City.

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