February 8, 2023

Y M L P-243

Can you feel Business?

Siciliano’s Market selling to new owners

GRAND RAPIDS — Siciliano’s Market Inc., the family-owned specialty retailer and launching pad for a great number of West Michigan breweries, is altering ownership immediately after a decades-extended run advertising craft beverages and foods and the equipment used to make them.

Owners Steve and Barb Siciliano on Dec. 31 signed a revenue arrangement with Jeff Boorsma, the previous owner of various Adobé In & Out dining establishments. A longtime spouse and children close friend of the Sicilianos, Boorsma will switch more than operations to his daughter and son-in-regulation. 

The Michigan Liquor Manage Fee accredited a conditional license for Boorsma’s Fifty percent Tail LLC on April 5, and the functions expect to shut the sale on June 1. Conditions of the sale ended up undisclosed.

The Sicilianos have been considering retirement for the earlier 5 several years and started out actively arranging to promote very last summertime.

“We could not have found greater house owners,” Steve Siciliano informed MiBiz. “They’re local people who have owned their individual small business for a selection of a long time and they are likely to operate (Siciliano’s Sector) and it will even now be a mom-and-pop store. You never see a lot of those any more.”

Steve SicilianoSteve SicilianoBoorsma’s daughter, Tiffany Sipka, along with partner Dan Sipka, have already been “learning the ropes” at the shop, preparing for their new roles as operators. They strategy to acquire the organization outright in the coming decades, Dan Sipka reported. The couple are each and every just shy of 30 yrs previous.

“We’re very psyched about the possibility and genuinely energized for Steve and Barb, far too. They’ve put a good deal of blood, sweat and tears into the marketplace,” Sipka claimed. “We’re not coming in to change nearly anything we’re all about the neighborhood. It’s a community retail store feel, and we want persons to know it’s likely to continue on as it is.”

Aside from a number of minor beauty improvements, the Sipkas prepare to retain the operations, as properly as the Siciliano’s Current market title.

“Steve gave us the blessing to adjust (the title), but there’s no motive to. It’s a west aspect staple,” said Sipka, who life with his wife a block north of the marketplace.

Grand Rapids roots

In 1993, the Sicilianos acquired the previous social gathering keep at 2840 Lake Michigan Drive NW as it was on the verge of heading out of enterprise.

“I imagined I could arrive here and, increase, flip it all over right away,” Siciliano stated. “But it didn’t transpire overnight. The moment persons prevent coming to a location due to the fact there is almost nothing to arrive there for, it is sort of challenging to get that targeted traffic back.”

The to start with 5 yrs of small business have been tough, but Siciliano drew on former practical experience running convenience suppliers in town. He previously operated a 7-Eleven franchise on North Plainfield Avenue for 5 yrs, then acquired a benefit retailer in the Creston neighborhood that he renamed Siciliano’s Current market. He would afterwards relocate from Creston to the Westside Link community in hopes of moving to a site extra conducive to offering fantastic wine.

SipkasDan and Tiffany SipkaMeanwhile, the craft beer market was commencing to get root in Michigan and elsewhere.

“I started carrying some craft beers and imports moreover the regulars that everybody else carried,” Siciliano stated. “I started out seeking for different things to get, and I resolved to start off advertising them in singles, which no person was undertaking back then. The craft beer field aided place us on the map, and then from there we bought into brewing materials, set a cigar humidor in, and it just grew immediately after that.”

The retailer has “turned into a location,” carrying hundreds of types of craft beer, wine, spirits, cigars, tobacco items, as effectively as provides for producing wine, beer and cheese. 

Cultural ambassadors

Emerging as an early homebrew provide retailer served distinguish Siciliano’s from most specialty marketplaces, and has constructed the retail outlet a loyal pursuing amongst craft brewers, some of whom grew to set up well identified West Michigan breweries.

Siciliano’s nurturing and guiding method to nascent brewers and deep expertise of the craft beverage business has designed it special.

“They really care about the items and the approach and cared about the rising society. I did an extraordinary sum of networking there,” claimed Seth Rivard, co-proprietor of Rockford Brewing Co. who begun shopping for homebrewing provides at Siciliano’s around 15 many years ago. “I’ve constantly had an entrepreneurial spirit, and it was a ideal in shape for me wanting to get into the brewing globe. Having that network and society that Siciliano’s presented was a perfect leaping board for that.”

Numerous decades in the past, when Grand Rapids started off earning craft brewing accolades and the title of Beer Town, Usa, “it was definitely eye opening to see how many brewery entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids acquired their start as a result of Siciliano’s. It is just an amazing quantity,” Rivard explained.

“Steve has often located the most outstanding team to support individuals master from scratch and even just take their brewing to the up coming amount,” Rivard additional. “It’s surely been an incubator for the culture that this city and bordering place have made all around the good arts of craft beer.”

Mitten Brewing Co. co-proprietor Chris Andrus fondly remembers his early homebrewing days currently being centered all over Siciliano’s.

“I really don’t necessarily mean to overstate it, but if not for Siciliano’s, I’m not confident Mitten would have took place,” Andrus reported.

Siciliano’s led Andrus and organization associate Max Trierweiler to determine to pursue craft beer as a occupation, giving them “an in” to study recipes and create know-how from the unassuming workers. 

The welcoming emotion of Siciliano’s was evident early on when Andrus and Trierweiler designed their first, all-grain homebrew batch, which was sourced from the industry.

“I was bringing the batch from the auto to the garage, and the bag ripped open up and it all fell out in the driveway — it was an inauspicious beginning,” Andrus mentioned. “We experienced to go again to Siciliano’s and scoop all the things out once more. We felt like knuckleheads. We called it Driveway IPA.”

“There had been all of these complete noob moments, like not being aware of how to get the job done a grain mill,” Andrus added. “There was a ton of intimidation in craft culture at the time. It felt like a club, and we did not come to feel that we were automatically in the club. Siciliano’s is not like that.”

Andrus to this working day stops into Siciliano’s for the occasional previous-minute offer re-up. Lately, he essential sugar for a new batch of seltzer. Or it’s for research and growth reasons — like acquiring 6 unique bottles of kolsch to see how a new Mitten edition compares.

Andrus’ suggestions for the new house owners: “Remember what manufactured Siciliano’s particular in the to start with put — that nurturing nature of the location. And the high IQ for beer. There are a lot of merchants with range, but it usually takes attention to element.”

Andrus observed that Steve Siciliano just lately appeared “happier than I have viewed him in all the a long time I’ve recognized him.” 

And Siciliano is confident as he heads into retirement.

“It’s not difficult to wander absent for the reason that we know the organization will be in superior hands,” he mentioned.