By RUSSELL JONES
The Brandon Discount Beverage, Liquor and Tobacco will soon offer another service to residents of Brandon. The new owners, Mohammed Bilal and Vicky Anser, have been working hard to improve and renovate the store since they bought it on March 25.
“Me and Vicky have been working very hard on this,” Bilal, the 33-year-old storeowner said. “We hope to provide the people of Brandon with quality service.”
They have a simple goal with a broad vision and have developed a plan towards fulfilling it.
“We want to provide everyone going by Route 7 with just about anything they need,” Bilal said. “We want to be a one-stop shop for our customers.”
Since buying the former liquor store, the two owners, with the help of their manager Jay Mclaren, have been busy. The store is located in the same building as the Post Office but on opposite ends. Bilal and Anser also purchased the suite connected to the former liquor store.
“We have been working on getting everything cleaned and set up,” Mclaren said. “There were three layers of tile on the floor.”
After ripping out the old tile and painting the floor, the 31-year-old store manager now has the place spic-and-span. “The appearance of the store is just as important as the service you provide,” Mclaren said.
With double the space they began to improve the beer selection, which had previously been dominated by big-name domestic beers (Coors, Budweiser and other similar brands.)
“We added a new 10-door cooler with over half of it used for craft beer,” Mclaren said, adding that the local craft beers offer more of what many local customers wanted.
The final step in their transition to the larger space is offering food.
“We will be opening a deli and pizzeria very soon,” Anser, a New York-native said. In fact, they already have the pizza oven and deli counter installed and will soon put the finishing touches on everything within the next two weeks.
“This is the last of the renovations we have planned at this time,” Bilal said. “We want people to be able to stop in and get liquor or beer, lottery or cigarettes, or a sandwich or pizza. We want to have it all for them.”
What that means for Mclaren is a lot more work.
“To begin with, I am going to be making all the pizzas and sandwiches,” said Mclaren, who has a background in both delis and restaurants. “I’ll be doing all that and Vicky will be running the register and working the store.”
He said the store already has its Food Service certificate from the state and they will serve Boar’s Head meats and be a full-scale deli. All the pizzas will be made in house.
“We’ve got one that’s our maple pizza,” Mclaren said. “It’s got maple bacon, maple ham, and maple sausage. It’ll smell so sweet when those are in the oven.”
Although both Bilal and Anser are owners, Bilal has another store in Castleton Corners so it will mostly be Mclaren and Anser manning the registers.
Though Mclaren said they will eventually need to hire more help, he’s okay with it being just him and Anser for now.
“It’s like working with your best friend everyday,” he said of his partnership with Anser. “He’s not family, but he feels like he is.”