Dorn’s Liquors originated in Gainesville 32 years ago. The liquor store once had 19 locations across Florida with several warehouse spaces in St. Augustine for direct deliver from distributors. Currently there are two locations left, one in Gainesville at the Fresh Market shopping center, located at 4140 NW 16th Blvd., and one location in Jacksonville.
The recession hit the family stores hard and caused the slow consolidation of other locations. Tenants in strip malls were not able to make rent, and mortgage bills continued to pile up. The 19 stores began closing three to four per year throughout the recession. They “were at the top, and they kind of got ahead of themselves,” said Tom Dorn Jr., the current manager of Dorn’s Liquors. The 2,000 SF Gainesville store began seeing barren shelves by 2013, and that is when Dorn’s father asked his 28-year-old son to take over.
After Dorn Jr. took over, wine was back on the shelves by April of that year, and the store saw profits for the first time in a year. Dorn said he put his mind to it and began adding stock slowly. Loyal customers were the first to return for Dorn’s personal service and local staff. The local staff is very helpful and more than happy to recommend the best wines to compliment different meals, appetizers and desserts. Dorn keeps a selection of cheese, chocolates and cured meats for customers to sample with different wines to help find want appeals to them. Things are picking back up, but Dorn does not expect Dorn’s Liquors to become the empire it once was. He is trying to explore different options within the liquor and wine industry to help the store grow.
Front Street visited Dorn's when preparing for our welcome event to introduce the Urban Land Institute to Gainesville. The staff was wonderful and very willing to help, ensuring we had enough wine, which was much enjoyed by our guests. We're so happy to see this local Gainesville store continue operations and look forward to visiting for our next event!