Sukh Boparai

Olympia Liquor Creekside, Calgary

Most family-run establishments have just a single storefront, but not always: the Olympia Liquor chain proves that a multi-store business can also be family-run.

“We had no plans of starting a chain or anything,” says Sukh Boparai, president of Olympia Liquor. “But it just happened to be a working formula for us, so we said, ‘Why not open more stores?’”

Boparai’s family opened their first store in December 1993. At the time they had a few outside partners in addition to some family members. When that partnership dissolved in 1997, Boparai and his family founded the Olympia Liquor brand. They currently own 12 liquor stores in Calgary, including the Creekside location of Olympia Liquor, which Boparai describes as their flagship location. They aren’t stopping there, either. The family has plans to expand to 40 stores in the next five years.

“Our number one priority is the honest price,” Boparai describes. “If we get a deal, we pass it on to consumers. And we have consistent marketing. People know us; people know our brand; people know what they’re going to get from Olympia–and they’re coming back.”

The biggest advantage of being a family-run operation is reliable staff, according to Boparai. Being family-run also allows them to be in full control of all decisions made and offer great prices as well as customer service and selection.

Shopping at a family-run store is different than shopping at a big chain store. The product selection, ambiance, price and people set them apart from the rest. They are often the stores that consumers remember the most–and the ones that people often make a point of returning to.