373 North Main Street
Square footage: 5,000
Years in operation: 1½ years under current ownership
By Sara Capozzi
Serving the Woonsocket community since the 1980s, Warehouse Liquors recently benefited from a revamp by new owners Asmita and Monilkumar Patel, who purchased the store and its building in November 2021.
After living in the area for several years, the Patels and their two children moved abroad to England in 2014, where they lived for seven years, running their own convenience and liquor store in the county of Kent. But the Patels still had roots in Woonsocket, and after the worst of the pandemic, they moved back in 2021 in search of a new business opportunity while retaining ownership of the shop in London.
“My kids are American, so they wanted to move here,” said Asmita Patel. “And basically, we were looking for, after COVID, another business to invest in. We got the opportunity here, so we came down here.”
The shop appealed to the Patels, as it was located off the main thoroughfare of North Main Street and offered plenty of convenient parking for customers. But it was in need of renovation, Patel explained. The 5,000-square-foot store is located in a historic brick building built in 1865, which was originally the Privilege Store, part of the Privilege Mill Complex, which provided housing for local factory workers. The building later became a warehouse before being converted into a liquor store in the ’80s.
The previous owners had run the store with an unusual setup where a long counter ran almost the whole length of the store from front to back. Customers would request products from behind the counter and the store clerks would retrieve the items. The Patels updated and reorganized the interior and changed the floor layout, all while keeping some of the building’s original design elements intact, such as its exposed brick and metal accents. They installed new coolers and shelving, allowing customers to peruse the store while shopping.
Next, the Patels worked to restock their inventory. Warehouse Liquors carries a wide selection of spirits, including tequila, which is popular, especially Don Julio and Casamigos. Crown Royal Whisky, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Captain Morgan Rum, and ready-to-drink cocktails and seltzers like High Noon also sell quickly. While big-name beer brands reign supreme, the store also stocks a variety of craft beer to keep up with guests’ ever-evolving tastes. “People like to change,” Patel said. “They go for seasonal [items] sometimes and seasonal beers … We have more choices and we carry more seasonal selections and offer more variety.”
With their background in retail, the Patels were able to successfully acclimate to their latest endeavor, learning more about new products as they run the shop day to day. “In the beginning, we had a lot of new stuff that we never saw in our convenience store in London, so for us it was a lot of brands to work with first of all,” Patel said. “And then [there were] not really big challenges, because we’ve been in this line of work for so long. We can build [relationships] with the customers, we know how to treat it so that was not a big deal.”
The Patels keep customers engaged by using the store’s website and through posts on its social media accounts. They prioritize friendly service and helping customers find selections quickly. Regarding their philosophy on customer service, Patel said, “It must be convenient for the customers and helpful. I like to talk to people; a lot of people [say they] come in just because of our customer service.”