JAK’s Beer, Wine and Spirits celebrated its grand opening in Williams Lake this Saturday, March 9.
Located on 1205 Prosperity Way just across from the Walmart, this new liquor store provides an experience-based, exclusive-focused, brand of service to the lakecity. JAK’s is a B.C. based fourth generation family run business, based out of Vancouver, and with the opening of the store in Williams Lake, it has over 15 stores open across the province.
Unofficially opening its doors earlier this week on Tuesday, March 5, JAK’s opened in style with liquor tasting, a ribbon cutting ceremony, entrees and deals. The new lakecity business even started off its involvement in the wider community by donating 10 per cent of all the day’s sales to the Salvation Army Food Bank and 100 per cent of all proceeds from a silent auction.
Upon entering, Williams Lake residents were treated to a clean, modern take on a liquor store filled with diverse local and foreign selections. Indeed, dozens packed the store at a time as they browsed the store’s stocks.
All of this is what JAK’s is all about, according to its director of sales Tim Dumas, who came up from Vancouver to help personally open the store. Dumas happens to have a lakecity connection through his aunt and uncle, Bernadette and Jim Rymer, which he said helped influence the choice to establish a store in Williams Lake.
“Family is really important to us, so that’s why for our grand opening we’re really reaching out to the local community. We are a part of the community and the community is a part of our family now as well,” Dumas said. “The greatest thing about JAK’s is the people and that’s the same thing about Williams Lake so the synergy here is outstanding.”
While it may have been his own relations that originally turned JAK’s on to Williams Lake, Dumas said that the welcoming community, including members of the Williams Lake Craft Beer Festival, Mark Doratti of the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Walt Cobb, helped make the decision easier.
“The people here have been amazing, it’s fit in perfectly with our values and what we do in the community and I think it will be a great partnership,” He said. Both Cobb and Doratti made an appearance for the ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on opening day.
Currently, the store employs eight people, though Dumas said they’re looking to increase that number to 10 or 12 lakecity locals. A transition team from other stores is currently heading the workforce while they train passionate new local hires to take over in the next few months.
“We don’t just sell the products we sell, we create an experience in the store and then that product, that wine, beer or spirit is going to help you recreate that experience with your family, your loved ones or your friends later that evening,” Dumas said.
One way Dumas said JAK’s tries to provide these experiences and differentiate itself from other liquor stores is by offering unique and exclusive brands. There are over 50 exclusive products within every JAK’s you can’t get anywhere else in B.C. and many more that are sold in few others, he said.
“You’ll always find something that’s different and cool that you like at JAK’s,” He stated. “The greatest thing about JAK’s is our JAK’s brand promise, if you don’t like what you get, bring it back and we’ll find something good for you.”
He added they also plan to buy from local breweries and wineries both in the Cariboo and across B.C.
As for community involvement like donating to the Salvation Army, Dumas said it’s something they absolutely intend to continue to do. Every time they come to a town, the first thing they do is reach out to a local food bank because, as he put it, none of them has ever said they have enough food. The company has a commitment to promoting good spirits and people, so supporting the less fortunate in a community fits into that mandate perfectly, Dumas said.
Moving forward the store will be managed by Christina Young, an employee from the Lower Mainland with a Cariboo connection. Young was born and raised in Vancouver but spent much of her summer months growing up in Sheridan Lake, something she greatly enjoyed.
Young attended university in the Okanagan, where she ended up working in the wine industry in everything from vineyards to winemaking to the retail side of things. A natural love of wine emerged from this experience which is something she is excited to share with the people of Williams Lake.
“I’ve been in (Williams Lake) for a month exactly, opening the store, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the people. Everyone is so nice, accepting and welcoming, it’s just been the warmest welcome,” Young said. “My goal is for this place to be a really fun place for people to come. I just want it to be where people want to come, learn and try new things.”
Young plans to live up to the ideals of JAK’s and turn the store in Prosperity Mall into a fun place where people come to try new drinks and have great experiences. To ensure this she will be training her lakecity employees, whom she already considers family, over the next few months in JAK’s values.
“I’m here to put myself out of a job, is what I call it,” Young joked. “I’m here to set everyone up for success and train them. We’ve hired a bunch of people already but we’ll be hiring even more to replace me and a couple of the other girls that have joined me from the coast.”
JAK’s in Williams Lake is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day from here on out.