Jubilation Wine & Spirits is owned and operated by John and Carol Zonski and their daughter, Tasha Zonski-Armijo. This is our 20th year at our current location, 3512 Lomas NE, Albuquerque, NM. Before moving to this current location, Jubilation was located on the corner of Rio Grande Blvd. and Central NW for 28 years and known to all as the Old Town Liquor Shoppe, because of its proximity to the Old Town Plaza.
Carol’s father, Henry Rivera, was the founder and President of Old Town Liquor Shoppe, Inc. Henry started in the liquor business as a “bar back” in the 1920’s, working in nightclubs and bars. During World War II, he joined the Army and became a medic landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Shortly after returning home from the war, he purchased a liquor license and opened a bar on First St. because it was near the train station and many of the passengers enjoyed having a drink in their favorite bar made by their favorite bartender. In 1958, his longtime business partner, Pete Granucci, passed away and Henry decided the bar business was not conducive to being a good husband and father, so he sold the bar and opened the Old Town Liquor Shoppe selling packaged liquor only.
John started working for Henry, his father-in-law, in the early 70’s earning extra money on nights and weekends and in 1976 decided to quit his job with the City of Albuquerque and help Henry manage a growing business.
When John and Carol’s youngest child went to school in 1982, Carol began to work at Old Town Liquor Shoppe. She wanted to add a feminine touch to the business, so women would feel more comfortable about shopping at the neighborhood liquor store. At that time, most of the sales were generated by spirits and beer. Wine had not reached the popularity that it has today. Selections were limited to red (burgundy) and white (Chablis) or pink (white zinfandel). However, Henry would always have a glass of wine with dinner and recognized the health benefits, even back then.
In 1987, as the result of a problem with the ownership of the shopping center where Old Town Liquor Shoppe was located, the store was forced to find a new home after 28 years. Needless to say, John, Carol and Henry were very concerned about having to move a prosperous, growing business to a new location after so many years. Then a man named Julio Vincioni, whom they affectionately refer to as their “Guardian Angel”, came to the rescue. He would take John out everyday looking for a new home for the Old Town Liquor Shoppe. Julio knew so much about neighborhood demographics; like age, population, available land, and buying habits. He kept bring John back to 3512 Lomas Blvd. NE. At that time, there were three separate businesses, in three separate buildings, all desperately needing remodeling. One building had been an A & W Root Beer stand in the 60’s and various restaurants after it closed in the 70’s. The speaker stands and parking canopy were still standing in 1987.
John and Julio brought Carol to see what they considered to be the best location to move the store to. When she saw the three buildings, her exclamation to John was, “You’ve got to be kidding!!!! This place is a mess!!!” John convinced her that everything would be redone and it would be a beautiful new home for the Old Towne Liquor Shoppe. But what about the name? The store would no longer be near the Old Town area, so that name wouldn’t really work. They needed a name that would not offend the neighborhood, but would convey to the general public that they were a full service liquor store. John and Carol had frequently visited a restaurant in Las Vegas, NV and they loved the name, “Jubilation”. The restaurant had since closed so they decided to use the name and add “wine & spirits”. So Jubilation Wine & Spirits was born. Some of the neighborhood residents were not too happy that a liquor store was coming into their area. They banned together and formed a neighborhood organization to fight the move.