Prospective owner of Family Wine and Liquors applies for license

  Tony Girolami, right, 
  addresses the Homewood 
  Board of Trustees on 
  Tuesday while his father, 
  Butch Girolami looks on. 
  The Girolamis are in the 
  process of selling their 
  liquor store after almost 
  42 years in business.
 
  (Photos by Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 
Homewood trustees approved a motion Tuesday that will help pave the way for a new owner at Family Wine & Liquors at 18707 Dixie Highway.

The motion directs village staff to prepare an ordinance amending the class 2 liquor license section of the ordinance to include a new license for prospective business owner Ronak Patel. Liquor licenses do not automatically transfer with a business sale.

The new license will include a restriction on space allowed for liquor store operations to 2,700 square feet and could include extensions on the business's current hours of operation, adding an hour each day to the closing time.

Following the vote, trustees expressed appreciation for the current owners and urged Patel to continue the store's traditions of quality and service.

Owners Butch and Tony Girolami explained why they are interested in selling the business, which the family has operated for nearly 42 years. Butch nodded to the photo gallery of Homewood mayors on the east wall of the board room.
 
  Ronak Patel, prospective 
  owner of Family Wines & 
  Liquor tells Homewood 
  trustees that he has a 
  decade of experience 
  in liquor store management 
  and plans to maintain the 
  products and service 
  of the Homewood store.

 
"I was just looking at the wall, and I have worked with six mayors," he said. "I'm getting up in age. I'm worried if something should happen to me, what would happen to the store, because the store is so much a part of my life.

"I thought maybe it would be time to kick back a little bit and not work six days a week at the business."

His son, Tony, said his situation makes it difficult for him to continue owning the store. He is married and has another career, and managing the store, too, has become difficult. 

"It's getting too much to run back and forth. The time has come," he said.

His father noted that Tony started working at age 8.

"I've already had 30 years of retail. I'm ready to retire," he said.

Butch said his plans for retirement include working more on his hobby, auto racing. And he's got some reading to do.

"I've got about 250 books down in my basement. I've got my own library," he said. "Maybe I can catch up reading them."

Mayor Richard Hofeld and each trustee thanked the Girolamis for providing fine service to the community for so many years. Butch is so well known by his nickname that few people even know his given name. He was given the nickname almost from birth. He said his father looked at him in the cradle and said, "He looks like a Butch." And that's the way family, friends and customers know him. 

Trustee Jay Heiferman said, "I can't tell you how many times I've come in to buy a gift to bring to a party or something, and I just have to tell Butch whose house I'm going to and he tells me what to take."

"I've lasted 42 years there because this town has been so good to me," Butch said. "It meant a lot to me."

Hofeld and other trustees asked Patel about his plans for the store.

"It's a unique store," Patel said. "We would like to keep it the same format."

Trustees Barbara Dawkins, Lisa Purcell and Karen Washington offered their support for his plan to maintain the store's products and level of service.

"Keep it the same. Keep the Cubs games on and talk to people about that," Purcell said.

"I agree with everything that's been said except for the Cubs games," Washington added.

Patel had a ready answer to the baseball rivalry. 

"I will need two TVs, one for the Sox and one for the Cubs," he said.

Patel said he has been managing his brother's liquor store in Richton Park for 10 years and is ready to own his own business.

The Girolamis said the sale is not yet complete, and they plan to retain ownership of the building for now.
 

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

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