Niskayuna Wines and Liquor changes hands

Photo Kristin Schultz
Dave Gallo, Anne Leonelli-Gallo and Peter Scanlan stand in front of Niskayuna Wines & Liquor. Scanlan sold the store to Leonelli-Gallo last week.Photo Kristin Schultz Dave Gallo, Anne Leonelli-Gallo and Peter Scanlan stand in front of Niskayuna Wines & Liquor. Scanlan sold the store to Leonelli-Gallo last week.

By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

It was time to pop the champagne as the sale of Niskayuna Wine and Liquor was finalized on Sept. 14.

Second-generation owner Peter Scanlan sold the Nott Street institution to fellow Niskayuna resident Anne Leonelli-Gallo.

“She is the right person because she is a local and will continue the legacy of the store,” Scanlan said.

That legacy started in 1969 when John P. Scanlan bought the wine and liquor retail business from Adam Boss. John passed away 10 years laterand his wife, Betty Lou, took over and ran the store until 2000.

As Peter took the reins in the new century, he set to modernizing the business while keeping the customer focus the store was known for.

He built more retail shelving, tripled the wine selection and built relationships with a curated group of distributors in order to secure a diverse, interesting and balanced stock.

Scanlan also modernized technology, eventually moving away from the much-beloved tear-off paper inventory tabs. He still keeps the last, unused roll of those tabs and gets a little sentimental when he sees wine bottles around town bearing the sticker from years ago.

The business grew and flourished and now, 17 years after, he is confidently handing the store over to Lionelli-Gallo, who is eager to learn and continue the decades-long traditions of service and education.

While it is her first retail venture, it is not her first business rodeo. Leonelli-Gallo spent 25 years in the  bio-pharmaceutical industry, most recently as a sales manager.

“She has a great head for business and that’s how I know she’ll be successful,” Scanlan said.

Part of that success will come from making reasonable changes and leaving some things well enough alone.

“The beams aren’t going anywhere,” Leonelli-Gallo said. “The store will stay in character. We’ll keep it special.”

The store has eight employees, all of whom have said they intend to stay. Scanlan will also be around to help Leonelli-Gallo as she gets her footing and makes the store her own. Leonelli-Gallo said she plans to continue the store’s tradition of giving back to the community.

While customers can expect to see mostly the same familiar faces, there will be some changes. Leonelli-Gallo plans to open the store on Sundays and is looking to host tastings on Fridays and perhaps introduce a customer loyalty program.

“The store is just going from one local family to another,” said Leonelli-Gallo.

Scanlan has not announced his next move. He plans to stay involved in the beverage industry and will attend a couple of wine festivals this fall.