As she looks back on the last year, Vinnin Liquors President Angela Ansara said the business is recovering from the pandemic, but there is still a need for quality employees.
“We’re still recovering a little bit, but it’s still hard to find the employees who want to work because of the pandemic,” she said. “A good employee would be someone self-motivated, eager to learn, ask questions and show up on time. What we ask for is pretty simple.”
During the early period of the pandemic, Ansara said alcohol demands were high, leading to more deliveries in Swampscott and other communities such as Salem, Beverly and even Boston.
“We have delivery to go anywhere in Massachusetts,” Ansara said. “If it’s too far out, we will ship it. If it’s a big event, we will ship it. We go to places like Gloucester, Boxford and Boston all the time.”
Vinnin Liquors was established in the early 1970s by Ansara’s mother, Marge, who also commissioned the building’s construction. The store was originally on Humphrey Street before relocating to its current location at 371 Paradise Road in 1975. Before starting Vinnin Liquors, she built and founded Lynnway Liquors in Lynn in 1964.
“Her dad — my grandfather — sold perishables,” Ansara said. “The one piece of advice he gave her is: ‘Don’t go into business for things that expire.’”
Ansara said her mother broke ground by being one of the few female owners of a liquor store at that time, and that she faced challenges when getting signatures to start her business.
“It was hard times because women owners weren’t looked at very friendly,” Ansara said. “I remember my mother telling me she had a petition around Swampscott to get the dream she wanted.”
As for Ansara, she said she had been interested in business since she was a child.
“I was always a very business-minded person,” Ansara said. “I would always take a cart to King’s Beach and sell lemonade.”
Ansara started working at the store in sales after graduating from college in 1994. She then climbed the ranks to become president in 2012. At the age of 93, her mother is still helping out at the store, albeit less frequently.
She’s a minority owner and she does pop in a little bit less these days,” she said. “She still tries to rule the roost the best she can.”
Ansara said business follows her wherever she goes, and she someday hopes her children will follow in her footsteps.
“It comes naturally to me,” she said. “Maybe if it was more of a mental challenge it would be more of a stress. I want to share what I know and teach others and do business and marketing.”
For those pursuing entrepreneurship, Ansara has a piece of advice: “Anything is possible.”