By Christine Graf
Less than one month after celebrating the 100th anniversary of Minogue’s Beverage Center, owner John Minogue sold his business to brothers Jeff and Paul Vukelic, owners of Saratoga Eagle.
The decision to sell was a difficult one for Minogue, and Jeff first approached him about purchasing the business about 16 months ago.
“When I was first approached by Jeff about the possibility, I was in a position where I really didn’t have a succession plan but I wasn’t totally committed to selling the business at that time,” said Minogue. “It ended up making a lot of sense to me. Selling my business after having been in it myself for fifty-five years was a personal thing for me. There’s a lot of family history, and I’ve had some emotional feelings about the business leaving the family but there really weren’t any options for me.”
Minogue and Vukelic have known each other for many years, and Minogue’s has been one of Saratoga Eagle’s largest customers. Minogue and the Vukelic brothers have much in common, and both operate family businesses that were established by their bootlegger grandfathers in the 1920s.
“I know the business will be well taken care by selling to Jeff,” said Minogue. “They are a class operation.”
According to Jeff Vukelic, he has always respected the way in which Minogue operated his business. It was because he knew that none of Minogue’s children were interested in taking over the business that he asked Minogue if he would consider selling it to him.
“I asked him if he would consider selling, and he said, ‘You are the only person I would consider selling to,’” said Vukelic. “It was a nice honor. I’m proud and excited that he’s entrusted that to us. And we’re keeping the name Minogue’s. He’s letting me keep the name which says a lot about him and a lot about his trust in us to let us carry on that name.”
Saratoga Eagle services 13 counties stretching from Albany to the Canadian border. Vukelic is CEO of Saratoga Eagle Sales and Service in Saratoga Springs, and his brother, Paul, is CEO of Saratoga Eagle’s parent company, Try-It Distributing near Buffalo.
“Between 2005 and today, we’ve made five acquisitions to acquire other markets and increase our footprints,” said Vukelic. “Minogue’s is our sixth acquisition.”
Minogue’s was purchased by Pivo Partners, an LLC that was established by the brothers specifically for this purchase. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the real estate involved in the transaction sold for $7.27 million.
Vukelic has hired former Price Chopper and Hannaford manager Angelo Malone to manage Minogue’s four locations in Queensbury, Saratoga Springs, Wilton, and Malta. Minogue’s 35 employees will be retained, and investments will be made to the stores.
“It’s more of a refresh. We’re going to bring in some new lighting and some new flooring and refresh the stores that way,” he said. “We’d like to expand down the road but right now our focus is to get into these stores and get to know the people and get to know our customers and provide great service and a great selection.”
Minogue plans to spend his retirement traveling with his wife and spending time with his children and grandchildren. Suddenly having so much free time on his hands has been quite an adjustment for him.
“I’m like a fish out of water,” he said. “Don’t know what to do with myself each day.”