Cliff and Jill became the official owners of Pokegama Plaza Liquor on November 21, 2020. Before moving to Grand Rapids, they lived in Carver, Massachusetts where they raised their two children. Cliff had worked in manufacturing for 30 years and was the plant manager for 23 years at Chatham Village Foods. Jill worked for Carver Middle High School as a cook for over 20 years. Jill’s parents are from Thief River Falls, Minn. so the two were accustomed to visiting family in Minnesota.
“We always planned to retire here,” said Cliff.
With their two kids moved out of the house, Cliff and Jill began reflecting on what they wanted for their future. They decided they needed a change of pace and began looking for opportunities in Minnesota. As they looked for businesses for sale, they came across Pokegama Plaza Liquor. Cliff took a trip to Grand Rapids to meet with a broker and was interviewed by previous owner Tony. He made an offer to buy the business that same day.
Cliff and Jill were able to keep all six of the Pokegama Plaza Liquor employees that had worked for Tony and Crystal.
“They are a tremendous resource to our success,” said Cliff. “A few of them are long-term and have been a pleasure to work with.”
Jill added, “They made the transition easier for us.”
They are also thankful to have the great mentorship of Tony and Crystal. When they became new owners in November, Tony continued to work at the business to help them get started. Tony and Crystal continue to support Cliff and Jill, and want them to be successful.
As they look ahead to their own future and the future of Pokegama Plaza Liquor, Cliff and Jill want to honor the success of Tony and Crystal.
"We would like to continue with the community legacy that Tony and Crystal built,” Cliff said. “We want to build on his success.”