- October 10, 2018
Island Beverage, named for the shape of the city block it’s situated on, has been serving the North Reading area for nearly two decades. Despite being land locked and not having a parking lot, this family-owned distributor has remained one of the top in the city due to excellent customer service and the ability to adapt to changes in the industry and community.
Heady Times (HT): How did you get into this business?
Leo Montoya (LM): My family bought the business back in 2000, so we’re going on 19 years. My father previously drove a truck and was just looking for something else. I was young; I basically grew up here.
HT: What changes have you had to make to the building over the years?
LM: My family owned the building and we just started knocking down walls to expand. We installed a large cooler section, but really only expanded the single serve selection about a year ago. I was surprised how much it helped our sales.
HT: What is your beer selection like?
LM: Because of our clientele, we do not have much of a craft lineup. We mostly carry bigger “mainstream” brands like Corona, Modelo and Miller High Life. We have a very large Hispanic population, mainly Mexicans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, and they usually drink what’s popular amongst people of the same cultural background.90% of our customers come in knowing what they want, there isn’t much shopping going on, but we’re okay with that.
HT: What do you think makes your store unique?
LM: We have a very clean store and friendly employees, which draws a lot of female customers. I speak the customers’ language, literally. My family is from Colombia, so I speak Spanish; you wouldn’t believe how many businesses around here don’t employ anyone who speaks Spanish.
HT: Having grown up here, how do you support the community?
LM: Here are the store, I try not to carry products with very low price points that might draw a bad crowd. I feel a responsibility to the customers coming to my store. Outside of the business, I have worked with United Way and try to get involved with inner city kids, specifically those interested in art. These kids need support.
HT: How has Origlio helped your business?
LM: The Origlio sales reps have been a huge help when it comes to passing along relevant information like upcoming products and changes in law. They also help me keep my store looking sharp and organized, with everything from point of sale to displays.
Leo Montoya (left), David Martinez (in front) and Hendy Reyes
www.island-beverage.com • 1004 N 9th St., Reading • 610-372-5996