Wine shop uncorks Division-Ashland plan

The owner of Galleria Liqueure, 3409 N. Southport, and Galleria Wine & Liquor‎, 1559 N. Wells, is asking the East Village Association to allow the city to lift a liquor moratorium on the southeast corner of Division and Ashland. Here he explains his plan to open a wine store at the former Washington Mutual bank location at the Polish Triangle. EVA members next meet on Monday, June 7.

By Benjamin Pourkhalili

Before we discuss any business, allow me to discuss my passion for Chicago. For the last 20 years, I've served several communities with services and businesses geared to suit the needs of each unique location.

I'm genuinely devoted to the improvement and gratification of local customers and pride myself as a local and small businessman. Eight years ago, I opened the first Galleria Fine Wine and Spirits shop on Wells just south of North Avenue in Old Town. We've slowly grown into one of Chicago's destination wine shops with more than 600 hand-selected wines, 300 spirits and over 20 craft beers.

My staff is extremely knowledgeable, polite and beyond willing to provide exemplary customer service. To add to our neighborhood commitment we offer free wine tastings hosted by industry professionals every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. and will deliver to any customer nearby. To boot, we're dog-friendly.

Needless to say this consumer-driven approach was successful and in 2007 I opened my second Galleria on Southport and Roscoe with the same results.

For the past few years I've been asked, "When are you going to open something in Bucktown?" Through my research, I found no fine wine shops near Ashland and Division. I feel this designation is key, because I do not wish to install a liquor store into any neighborhood. I despise businesses that disregard the ebb and flow of a community by forcing themselves and their soulless approach onto individuals who didn't want them to begin with.

What I want is to provide Bucktown with a wine shop that reflects the tastes and desires of the community — a shop that caters to specific needs, be it a rare bottle of wine for an anniversary celebration or a six-pack of Chicago-brewed beer. The goal is to keep Bucktown happy. A win-win, if you will.

I know, this sounds great, but I need your support. If you lift the moratorium on Division between Ashland and Wood, just by saying so, you'll give me an opportunity to provide another great Chicago neighborhood with the finest wine, beer, spirits and service in the city.

I understand you may have concerns regarding the moratorium lift and I'm sure you don't want your streets littered with more liquor stores. This is a concern I understand as well, but allow me to point out that there are already three liquor stores within two blocks, and no one of sound mind would wish to open a fourth within these two blocks. I believe I'll be offering a boutique wine shop that could potentially become a great asset to the neighborhood.

I look forward to working with all of you.
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