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Background Information

Employment History

American Beverage Licensees

Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits

Anne Arundel County Licensed Beverage Association

The Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association Inc

Wholesalers Retailers Association of Maryland


Board Member
American Beverage Licensees

Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits

Board Member
Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation Inc


Bladensburg High School

Web References (66 Total References)

Welcome from Chuck Ferrar, ...

www.sdliquor.com [cached]

Welcome from Chuck Ferrar, President, ABL

American Beverage Licensees Elects New Officers at Annual Convention | American Beverage Licensees

ablusa.org [cached]

Chuck Ferrar The Board of Directors of the American Beverage Licensees (ABL) elected Chuck Ferrar, owner and operator of Annapolis, Maryland's Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits as ABL President at the 9th Annual ABL Convention. Ferrar will serve a two-year term as the leader of the national trade association with nearly 20,000 members, representing the national alcohol beverage retail community and coordinating with ABL's Bethesda-based staff on national industry efforts.

A member of ABL's Board of Directors since 2005 and an executive committee member for the past two years, Ferrar will bring his association experience, knowledge of ABL's membership and his business acumen to his new role representing ABL: "America's Beer, Wine & Spirits Retailers."
Previously an ABL Vice President, Ferrar has also served Maryland retailers as the past president of the Anne Arundel County Licensed Beverage Association, the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, and the Wholesalers Retailers Association of Maryland. He is a former Anne Arundel City Council Member and an active member of the Annapolis Rotary Club.
"Beverage retailers are great people. I look forward to working with them to represent the needs of a dynamic and challenging industry," said Ferrar. "Our small business owners work hard as members of their communities, and I plan to work just as hard representing our industry on the national level."
Ferrar is joined in his role by a slate of ABL officers that includes newly-elected Vice President Victor Pittman of Silver Leaf Wines & Spirits in Ridgeland, MS; and Vice President Bob Sprenger of Bubba's in Marion, WI.

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America President and CEO Craig Wolf to Receive 2013 Top Shelf Award | American Beverage Licensees

ablusa.org [cached]

"Beverage licensees know the importance of having a strong relationship with our distributors, and we're fortunate to be able to recognize an industry leader and good friend in Craig Wolf," said ABL President Chuck Ferrar, the owner of Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Maryland.

For Chuck Ferrar, founder of ...

www.beveragedynamics.com [cached]

For Chuck Ferrar, founder of Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, MD, part of the responsibility of operating a wine and liquor store has included an active involvement in supporting the alcohol retail industry, at the local, state and national levels. Just this July, he took a spot as head of the biggest national organization, the American Beverage Licensees (ABL). In the public realm he has helped broaden sampling rules, open the door to online sales and beat back what might have been an onerous rise in state alcohol taxes during the past, highly contentious legislative session in the state capital. So much for doing good by the industry that has been good to him. Then there's the doing well part. As an agile operator, Ferrar has often been the first in his trading area to exploit those hard-won gains, garnering an edge over stodgier competitors and building Bay Ridge into a formidable competitor.

That trades off the usual billboard effect, but Ferrar doesn't see much of a cost in doing so. "If they want Miller Lite they'll find it," he said. At the time of Beverage Dynamics' visit toward mid-July, a major event was looming in the Maryland beer world: the long-awaited arrival of New Belgium's Fat Tire beer. Characteristically, Ferrar and son-in-law, David Marberger (who these days runs the store's day-to-day operations) had thoroughly prepared: they were planning a 6 a.m. tasting the first day the beer became available.
Ferrar said he'd made sure his store would be the first to have the coveted Colorado craft brew available in the state.
Now at 14,000 square feet, in two decades the operation has grown 15-fold in sales to where it does upwards of $10 million annually, Ferrar said. It turns its inventory 11 times per year, including 15 times for beer and six times for wine. Ferrar said he's happy to see customers of all social and economic strata sharing his checkout lines, with sophisticated wine buyers standing right behind residents of a low-rise housing project across the street who're there to snag a 22-ounce bottle of Heineken. "We serve everyone" in the community, he said. Asked to name the core reason for his success over the past 21 years, Ferrar declares: "The personality of the store made the difference."
The Early Years
Though Bay Ridge is a community institution by now, at 21 years it's a relatively young player on the retail scene, launched by an entrepreneur who had never been in the business and, at the time he got going, barely drank the stuff. Ferrar, who grew up in Prince George's County, MD, was working at Sysco in food-service distribution in Houston when he had a heart attack at age 48. That prompted a rethinking of his priorities. After the corporate rat race, a move into retail, where he could be his own boss, seemed like it might be restorative. "I needed a break from the corporate structure," he says now. Though he has only praise for Sysco as a company, "I was just not cut out to be in that kind of corporate structure," he reminisces. He's now 69 years old.
So he returned home to Maryland, where an aunt who'd been in the liquor retail business helped finance his venture. Certainly, the project didn't stem out of any deep personal enthusiasm for the fruits of the vine: "I was almost a non-drinker at the time," Ferrar recalled. With his aunt as his "silent partner, my golden angel," he bought a foundering 4,000-square-foot operation housed in the shell of a former 14,000-square-foot former supermarket. He raised his share of the down payment by selling his home. "My wife and I put everything we had into this," Ferrar said. He did garner one edge from a stint earlier in his career at supermarket equipment supplier Hobart, which gave him a knack for store design and merchandising innovation.
The early years were arduous. In the first five years, he said, he didn't take a single day off.
Marberger's key role in the store's operations allows Ferrar the flexibility to come and go as he likes. On the Saturday afternoon that Beverage Dynamics visited, though, both were present and taking a hands-on role in all the store's activities. Though the pair have their share of disagreements over the direction of the business, Ferrar said he views the youthful ardor of his 42-year-old son-in-law as vital to the store's future success. "Complacency is death - but my son-in-law is young, hungry and ambitious," he said.
In initially finding its footing, the store couldn't take one route of aggressive newcomers, offering greater value than its established rivals, because of laws prohibiting quantity buying. There were nine other package stores within a mile-and-a-half radius, and they all paid the same price for their inventory. "I was never a discount operation," Ferrar said. "We're a (former) supermarket, but even with our high ceilings and space, we've not ever given the impression of being a big-box store. Instead, he decided to accentuate customer service. As the store design evolved, it moved - presciently, as events proved - in the direction of making itself increasingly inviting to female shoppers, buttressing its appeal among a demographic that Ferrar believes now accounts for 60% of his customer base, one that's the dominant purchaser in every store section except Scotch whisky. That means wide aisles, the absence of clutter, bright lighting and "no thanks" to the girly posters constantly proffered by beer and liquor marketers. A pair of women work the wine floor, but otherwise the sales staff is male. The store is situated in a well-lit shopping center and Ferrar makes it a point to hire off-duty police officers to park their marked cars prominently at the front entrance. That they've never had to be called into action only confirms to Ferrar that they represent a sound investment in deterring problems and assuring tranquility at his store.
The store has an interesting orientation in that it seeks to carve out a reputation as a specialty retailer targeting even the most discriminating buyers on the spirits side, but does not make a comparable effort to pursue such customers on the wine side. Though it has an extensive wine stock, it doesn't cater to the fine wine aficionado seeking out first-growth Bordeaux. That's an outgrowth of the store's beginnings, when established retailer Mills Fine Wine located at the Annapolis dock specialized in offering fine wines to boaters loading up their yachts for winter in the Caribbean. Later, the general manager of that store opened a rival operation, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, and Ferrar says he's content to let the pair scrap for that 3% of the market. "My philosophy is I'd rather fight for the other 97% of the market," he said. There is no fine wine room; Ferrar and Marberger prefer to keep their customers in a single, central location.
"Wine's still a mystery to most shoppers," Ferrar said.
Specializing in Spirits
The store boasts an extensive bourbon selection and about 125 single-malt Scotches - a style that is a personal enthusiasm of Ferrar's since the day, 19 years ago, that he broke a bottle of The Macallan and found himself intrigued by the overtones of sherry in the smell. If it weren't for that happy accident, "I never would have tasted the Scotch," he said.
The store does have one quirk in its spirits selection: "Annapolis is a huge rum town," thanks to all the nautical activity there, Ferrar indicated. "A drinking town with a sailing problem," he jokes.
Though customer service is paramount in the store, Ferrar insisted there are no particular secrets on the hiring side. "When we interview, we look for people that we like," who have some relevant experience, he said. He's been patient on some key hires: his current general manager he first encountered years ago as a waiter who moved on to a rival wine shop before eventually becoming available to Bay Ridge. "We deal with personalities - and honesty - and we can train them," Ferrar said. He feels the industry does a good job making information available on brands and styles, and employees go to tastings and visit wineries, though Bay Ridge doesn't go in for formal classroom training for its staff.
If, as Woody Allen once put it, 90% of life is just showing up, that alone would assure Ferrar of a fair amount of influence. But that's been compounded by his natural political instincts as well as the goodwill he's accumulated among other liquor store operators for the time he's put in on their behalf. He's been president of the Anne Arundel County Licensed Beverage Association five times, president of the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, and the Wholesalers Retailers Association of Maryland, and just was inducted to a two-year term as president of the 20,000-member American Beverage Licensees, a major national organization based in nearby Bethesda.
For Ferrar, the work he's done to broaden opportunities for wine and

Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation - Creating a Community of Readers

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Chuck Ferrar

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