Anjanette Vinduska has been running R & D Liquor Store since her parents opened it in November of 2006. And now, after almost 17 years, the store has been sold and will be run by a different family.
“I just enjoy working in this community and all of the friendships I have made here. I’ve enjoyed recommending wines. Lots of times people come in and tell me ‘We just got engaged’ or other news so I feel like I am often the first to know something,” said Vinduska. “When I don’t see women for a while I wonder if they are pregnant. Sometimes I just feel like I am a part of this community and a part of people’s lives because of things people share in here.”
Vinduska has seen it as her goal to brighten up customers’ days in her time running the store.
“My dad’s goal has always been to make someone smile before they leave the store and I have pretty much made that mine too. If someone’s having a crummy day, I want to brighten it,” said Vinduska. “I know there are negatives to alcohol, but the benefits of being in people’s lives have far outweighed that for me.”
Today is Vinduska’s last day and she has mixed emotions.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family because I have been so tied to the store that it’s been hard to enjoy school activities, family time and just be a mom. I’m ready to do more of those things,” said Vinduska. “This has been my home for a long time and I feel like I’m leaving home. I’ve basically been inviting people into my home when they come in. So it’s very bittersweet.
Many customers have watched Vinduska’s two kids grow up over the years.
Vinduska said, “My kids have grown up in this store. My son was 2 ½ when the store opened and he could barely see over the counter. Now he is at college. We feel like such a part of the community because everyone has watched my kids grow up.”
She even has a growth chart of the kids in the office measuring their heights over the years. She and her family have lived a lot of life in the little office, and she often made meals in there including one year when she cooked her turkey in a roaster one Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Her kids have grown up knowing customers and her son even invited several to his birthday party one year.
Vinduska said she will miss customers the most and her interactions with them.
“I have so many stories I could tell,” she said.
But she is ready for more family time and to be able to go on vacations. She also hopes to travel with her husband since he works for an airline.
“We have always had to do vacation from Sunday to Thursday since weekends can be hard to cover. And a few days into the vacation, I start getting antsy worrying about the store. We are ready to travel worry-free,” said Vinduska.
And while she is sad to leave, she feels comfortable leaving the store in the hands of the new owners.
Mike and Shawn Vondenkamp, of Marion and longtime friends of the Vinduska family, will be taking over the reins.
“We don’t expect to change a lot because they have a run very good business, they know what they are doing and they are amazing mentors who are willing to share their knowledge. They will be a great resource,” said Shawn.
She said that Mike will be working there on Saturdays and he is a very social person so he is going to love talking to everyone.
Both of them have full-time jobs that they will continue doing for a few more years while running the liquor store which will be changing its name to Vondy’s Liquor. She works for Central National Bank in Marion and he works for Tire Dealer Warehouse in Wichita.
They expect to learn a lot initially since she has never done retail and he has only done wholesale retail, but they are ready and excited for the challenge.
“We are excited to be in Hillsboro. I have family there, was born there and lived there til 2nd grade. My mom’s family is there and my dad’s family is there. So I already know a lot of people,” said Shawn.
In addition to the couple, there will be a few others working at the store.
“We have great help. One person stayed on and we have hired some other great people who will do a great job and fit in well,” Shawn said. “We are excited about that because good help is the backbone right there. If I can’t be there all the time, I need good help.”
The couple takes over tomorrow and will be closed most of the morning and part of the afternoon to switch over the computer system and do a few other things. Hours will return to normal after that.