When he was 18 and had just graduated from Staples High School in Westport, Larry Vavrek started working alongside his father at Peter's Spirits in Weston. That was in 1974, when his father had just bought the business, and today it is still a part of the family.
"My dad and I really got to know each other pretty well. It was a really good experience," said Vavrek, who lives in now Newtown. He began working at the store full time in 1980 after graduating from Florida Atlantic University. He started taking over the business in 1985 and bought it in 1995. "It was a pretty solid business, and I got comfortable here, so it just ended up happening," he said. His older brothers Jim and Jerry help him run the store in Weston Center.
But now it seems unlikely that the business will stay in the family another generation.
"I probably don't want my sons to do it. Not that it's not a great business and a lot of fun, but your weekends when you're in your 20s and 30s ... I never had a Saturday off," Vavrek said of his sons, ages 19 and 16. "With the holidays, everybody's partying and you're working. ... But I enjoy it now. It's a great thing for me at my time of life."
Peter's Spirits is the only liquor store in town, and his customers remain loyal. Even with Wilton recently giving up its dry town status, Larry said his customers from Wilton keep coming back and it has not affected business. He estimates that 90 percent of his patrons are regulars.
Vavrek says that being located in a generally wealthy town like Weston has its benefits.
"We get to sell a lot of good wine and expensive wine," he said.