JACK FARRELLHaskell's Chairman and CEO, 2019 Retailer of the Year!

Haskell’s CEO Jack Farrell named liquor industry Retailer of the Year!

Market Watch, a liquor industry trade publication, named Haskell's Chairman and CEO Jack Farrell its 2019 Retailer of the Year.
Farrell bought the brand in 1970 and now runs an 11-store chain with his four sons.

By   – Staff reporter, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
Oct 11, 2019, 2:44pm CDT Updated Oct 11, 2019, 3:51pm CDT

The chairman and CEO of the family-run Haskell’s liquor store chain was honored as 2019 Retailer of the Year in September at a liquor-industry gala in New York City.

A profile of Jack Farrell was the cover story for the annual “Leaders” issue of Market Watch, a magazine dedicated to the liquor industry. The trade publication awarded Farrell its top honor Sept. 26 at its annual Leaders Award Dinner, held at five-star hotel The St. Regis New York.

“When they recognize me, they’re recognizing our whole company," Farrell said in an interview. "As I said to all my employees, each one deserves that award as much as me.”

Haskell’s generates an annual revenue of $65 million, according to Market Watch. Wine accounts for 56 percent of sales.

The 85-year-old Haskell’s brand was founded by Fritzi Haskell, who opened the first store in downtown Minneapolis in 1934, roughly one month after the end of Prohibition. Her husband Benny was a prolific bootlegger and had been barred from holding a liquor license, according to a history of the store recounted on Haskell’s website.

Farrell purchased the business in 1970 and now runs it with the help of his four sons: President Ted Haskell, Chief Operating Officer Brian Haskell, Vice President of Sales John Haskell and Beau Haskell, vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing.

Farrell recently was preparing for his annual trip to Beaune, in France's Burgundy region, for a wine auction held every November. He said he's missed only a handful of the auctions over five decades and still gets a thrill out of discovering new wines. But retirement may not be too far off for Farrell, who said the wine business has been changed for the worse by cut-throat competition and big-box discount retailers.

"I guess it’s like national politics. It’s not as civil as it once was,” he said.

When he does retire, Farrell will take with him plenty of memories, like the time he was asked to deliver a bottle of cognac to a special guest at a Northern Minnesota lodge: Frank Sinatra.

There are now 11 Haskell’s locations spread across the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Excelsior store is linked to the Haskell’s Port of Excelsior bar and restaurant. A wine bar located just around the corner from Haskell’s downtown Minneapolis liquor store operated for about 18 months in the Young-Quinlan Building before closing in June.

Source:  Minneapolis / St. Paul  Business Journal

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