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One Stop celebrates 30th by giving back

Madison Mathews • Nov 9, 2012 at 9:54 PM

When Ben Scharfstein opened up One Stop Wines and Liquors in 1982, he had a vision for not only the future of the market but also the future growth of Johnson City.

At that time, liquor stores carried mostly spirits as opposed to a mixture of both liquor and wines, according to current One Stop owner Phil Scharfstein, who took over for his father about six years ago.

“Dad was a visionary,” he said. “He had the foresight to realize that wine was an expanding market. That was kind of the birth and dad was at the forefront of that with this store. He foresaw that competition would be coming, so at the same time he wanted to have the room to have plenty of inventory that he could market to a larger region.”

The original One Stop was located in the shopping center that sits next its current location at 1914 South Roan St. In 1982, it was a smaller space — about 2,000 square feet — but after operating a convenience in the north side of town, Scharfstein’s father purchased property nearby to open up a larger liquor store and a new convenience store.

Thirty years later, One Stop Wines and Liquors has become one of the city’s most prominent businesses.

Since the very beginning, Scharfstein said One Stop has seen many changes, most notably being the major changes within liquor laws in Tennessee and number of counties and cities that are moving away from the days of being a dry area.

Despite the surrounding places going wet, Scharfstein said One Stop will continue to act as a regional store just as it did when his father first opened in 1982.

“Our business wasn’t build just because it was the closest to dry counties. That didn’t hurt anything, but at the same time, that wasn’t our only business philosophy as being right up against a dry county,” he said.

Offering coupons to customers, holding in-store tastings and more means of advertising weren’t even on the radar when One Stop first began.

“It’s a joy nowadays to be able to take a small portion and allow the customer to try it, that way they feel very solid about their purchase,” Scharfstein said.

Ben Scharfstein died in 2010 after a lengthy battle with non-smoking lung cancer, but the store’s success and his family’s dedication to giving back to the community hasn’t diminished.

One Stop’s Spirits of the Seasons event benefits the American Cancer Society. Since the event began about eight years ago, the store has helped raise more than $100,000 for the society.

This year’s Spirits of the Seasons will be held today at Venue at the King’s Centre from 5-7 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person.

One Stop underwrites 100 percent of the costs so all proceeds go directly to fighting cancer.

Another example of One Stop’s community outreach is its support of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District.

Through it’s many years of fundraising with the CAC, One Stop has helped raise more than $200,000.

Other charities include the Friends of the Cherokee Forrest, American Heart Association, Washington County Humane Society, Johnson City Public Library, Hands On! Museum and Girls Inc.

Phil Scharfstein said his father believed in supporting the community and that’s something he and other One Stop employees want to carry on as they celebrate their 30th anniversary.

“I want our community to prosper. I want us to grow. I want to give back. The community has been good because of family business. The community has been good to us, and I want to reflect that and give back to it,” he said.

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