After a summer’s worth of construction, Riley’s Wines of the World, 402 W. Gorham St., made its return to the world of wine, spirits and barley beverages Aug. 22.
Mrs. Lee, owner and operator of Riley’s, added a three-story structure to the northeast side of the building. Along with the addition, Riley’s added a bigger parking lot to ease deliveries and loosen up traffic during deliveries on Gorham Street.
Tom Harris, a manager at the store, said the three stories include “more storage space and a better office for the boss.”
While it has not yet done so, Riley’s plans to increase its stock in every arena, including more wine, more liquor and, with more cooler space, more beer. Riley’s also added a delivery service, an option it did not have before the remodeling.
Standing amid empty liquor boxes and other evidence of the move-in, Harris said that while everything is not completely finished, he expects the addition and remodeling will help business.
“Just look at the store. I think it looks better, and we will have more of a selection,” Harris said.
According to Harris, the store owner hopes to eventually include a fine wine and liquor section on the upper floors.
One might think that the new mammoth Riley’s would strike fear into the hearts of the competition, but this is not the case, at least according to one employee of Badger Liquor, 402 State St.
“They’ve been there as long as we’ve been here, so I don’t [expect to] see any difference,” he said.
Mahen, owner and operator of University Liquor, 540 University Ave., which also provides delivery service, said he also expects business as usual, and has not planned on any strategies to combat Riley’s new look.
Riley’s lies within District 8 and the alder for that district, Todd Jarrell, said that while the project “could have been a prettier building,” he applauds the fact that they are building up as opposed to out.
“They created a denser project, which is always good,” Jarrell said.