As told from Perry Collier's perspective, (2nd generation & current owner) the son of Harry Collier, founder of Collier's Bar in 1934 (present day Collier's Liquor Store).
Begining In The 1920's
During the 1920's, my uncle Charles Collier owned and operated a speakeasy on Mansion Street. When Prohibition ended on December 5th, 1933, Charles began building a nightclub in the present day building that houses Collier's Liquor Store. Charles purchased one of the very first liquor licenses available for only $350 and officially opened the nightclub called Charlie's Bar on June 29th, 1934. A few years later, the name was changed to Collier's Bar. Remnants of the nightclub's entrance can still be observed today on the building's Mansion street corner.
1934 - 1950's
Originally, Harry Collier (Perry's Father and Charles' Brother) had a feed and seed business in the early 1900's out of Woodbine New Jersey. During World War II, Harry went into the Navy and when he came out, the small farms had begun to disappear...making the feed and seed business history. It was at that point that Harry joined his brother Charles in the nightclub business in the 1930's. (Collier's Bar is pictured here on left in 1952, the sign can still be seen today on the wall inside Collier's Liquor Store).
In 1947 Charles left the nightclub business and sold his interest to my father Harry, returning to where he grew up in Philadelphia.
In 1948 my father took a corner of our night club and made a small package store (where our local wine section is located today). Every winter my father would make the package goods section bigger and bigger.
Then with the advent of television during the 1950's, the nightclub business started going south. So when a package goods license became available, my dad traded in the bar license and converted Collier's Bar to present day Collier's Liquor Store.
To the right is a picture of my father Harry Collier and a salesman for Imperial Whisky. A product at the time that was all the latest craze but is virtually non-existent today! This picture was taken from the present day window aisle (where our California Whites are) looking towards the counter and registers.
Here is an image of the Mansion street side of Collier's, at the corner of Jackson and Mansion. The two building here were moved to make room for our delivery driveway and parking lot for Iccara Italian Bistro. The pointed roof building was moved one lot further away from Collier's Liquor Store and serves as the present day home for Iccara Italian Bistro.
Here is a picture of the front of our building in 1962. Not much of the building has changed from this picture to today (including the color green), with the exception of eventually adding a second door to the front of the building.
Does this mural look familiar? That's because today, the mural is practically still the same, with some minor tweaks 60+ years later!
1967 (The 2nd Generation Joins The Business)
In 1967 I got out of the Army and came home for the summer to work at the Liquor Store.....It was a long summer. 50+ years later the summer of 1967 still hasn't ended. Ultimately my dad was looking to retire soon since he was 60 years old when I got out of the Army. He told me he was thinking of selling the business unless I wanted to help run it and go into business with him....obviously it was the choice I made.
In the summer of 1967 we had this giant Schlitz beer can out front of the store. Locals and visitors stopped throughout their day to get there photo with it!
By 1970 we added a new door to the front of the building, to allow for in and out traffic, which can be observed here standing in present day Rotary Park 52 years ago. Today, the building still remains green and some of the same signage can still be observed.
Harry Collier (1907-1991) - Founder of collier's bar & Liquor store
In 1991 we lost my father Harry Collier, one of the original founders of Collier's Liquor Store. He is pictured here with my mother Eleanor who also helped run the business at one time. My favorite memory of my father was when he asked me to work at the liquor store. At the time I was just a smart a** kid who thought he knew everything...low and behold I knew nothing!
1993: Bringing Reid Into Collier's (The 3rd Generation)
In August of 1993 my son in law Reid Levin, began working at the liquor store...by the time 1995 rolled around I found myself teaching him more and more of the business.
Today, Reid manages and runs Collier's Liquor Store, ordering all of the Wine and Spirits. He has even begun to teach the next generation, my grandson Alec Collier Levin who joined us full time in the Fall of 2021 as one of our beer managers.
Today 2022: Collier's Liquor Store family owned & operated since 1934
I have spent over 50 years working here and I have truly enjoyed every minute of it! I love when we get to hear, "we have been coming here since we were kids with our parents". It reassures the friendly family feel that my dad was most proud of when we opened our doors in 1934.
Cheers to 88 years of business and carrying on the Collier family legacy! We look forward to serving you in 2022!
~ Perry Collier, Reid Levin, and Alec Collier Levin