Local Gainesville Store Survives

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! 


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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