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Retail Review: World Class Liquor and Wine

Jayesh Maher, Owner, World Class Liquor and Wine.

World Class Liquor and Wine
323 Washington Avenue
North Haven, CT

Square footage: 2,500

Years in operation: 1 ½ years

By Sara Capozzi

It had been Jayesh Maher’s dream to own a liquor store for years when he purchased his shop, World Class Liquor and Wine, during the fall of 2022.

Maher, who has worked primarily in the retail trade sector, spent years saving to make his business vision into reality. Originally from London, he moved to Connecticut when he was 16 and went on to own two gas stations and manage another. As a North Haven resident, Maher currently owns a gas station in town but was interested in building another business there.

“This was a wine store when I bought it and I had zero experience in the liquor industry,” Maher said. “I came in blind.” He learned quickly and his prior retail management experience has been useful. Plus, his friends and peers in the industry offered advice. “That has helped a lot,” Maher said.

In the past year and a half, he’s set about making the store his own, creating his own trademarked brand, doubling the store’s inventory and installing new shelving and a cooler. Products are neatly and strategically arranged to allow for shopping ease, with each category labeled with signage and shelf talkers that he has created.

“I’m trying to create a perfect liquor store, something that’s very well-rounded that caters to the needs of people that enjoy alcohol, wine and beer … and, honestly, appearance is everything to me,” Maher said. “I’m very organized in my store.”

Customers stop in from all over the state to World Class’ convenient location. Its great selection, friendly customer service and unique offerings, like cocktail kits that Maher has put together himself, help put the store on the map. World Class offers a wide selection of spirits, craft beer and IPAs, cold wine and Champagne. Customers will also find a great selection of wines from around the world.

“This store was always known as a wine store and I didn’t want to take away the standard of selling those wines,” Maher said. “So, I re-created how everything was categorized, how everything was presented to the customer going forward.” He has bottles from Napa Valley arranged on one wall, with international wines in their own rows catalogued by varietal.

Maher designed the World Class logo with his wife, Puja, who also works at the shop and does the ordering and purchasing. “That’s one part that makes this brand a little more special,” Maher said. “The fact that multiple people helped design and curate what World Class is today … we all evenly take pride in what we’ve built.”

Maher also created his own website for the store and has built a following on social media. He plans to continue to grow his brand and eventually purchase more stores throughout the state. “It’s been a whirlwind getting this place to what I want it to be, to introduce it to people,” he said. “It’s been fun. I think I take enjoyment in building businesses—that’s what makes me excited to show up every day.”


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