True Texas Women in Austin
The Hill Country tugs at the sleeves of two of Texas’ most magnificent cities, Austin and San Antonio, and creative people can’t help being inspired by the natural splendor of Central Texas. In this issue, we celebrate three creative and hard-working Austin women whose entrepreneurship and innovative spirit inspire us. With business ties to San Antonio and beyond, these women started small but went on to do big things.
Please tell me a little about Twin Liquors and how long it’s been in business. Twin Liquors is a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated wine and spirits business that started after Prohibition. This year, Twin Liquors celebrates its 77th anniversary. The third generation of owners has expanded the business from a small store in 1982 to a successful company consisting of 75 locations across 13 counties in Central Texas. The company consists of retail sales and wholesale distribution to bars and restaurants. My brother, David Jabour, and I are co-owners.
Twin Liquors has locations in both Austin and San Antonio and in other cities throughout the United States, right? Twin Liquors has a unique and well-respected reputation throughout the United States. It has been nationally recognized for its substantial community involvement, knowledgeable team members, outstanding customer service, conveniently located stores and extensive selections of fine wines and premium spirits from around the world.
That’s impressive! But how did you get started? In the early 1980s, I realized that an unmet market existed for providing the consumer with fine liquors and wines. I took on the challenge of exposing consumers to, and providing them with, a variety of fine wines and liquors, despite the belief held by most retailers at the time that consumers would never buy premium wines and spirits. I wanted to create an atmosphere where women and men could come in, feel comfortable and learn about wine and spirits. Education has been a core principle from day one, giving associates and customers the opportunity to taste and learn.
What is your overall business philosophy that drives your company? My philosophy is to provide outstanding customer service along with product knowledge and education. I believe that an educated staff can teach consumers to feel confident with their wine and spirit selections. I believe it is equally important to provide tastings in the stores — much like fragrance samplings at a cosmetics counter. I wanted to bring the department store ambience to the wine and spirits industry.
That’s a great idea — I’m sure customers respond positively to that. My desire was to appeal to the female consumer during a time when this industry primarily focused on the male consumer. Similar to the fashion industry, Twin Liquors brings the latest and greatest products available on the market. The vision was and continues to be to expand the business in order to serve its communities in every possible neighborhood with personnel that share my brother’s and my passion and sentiment for the consumer and the industry. The inception of this dream launched in 1982 with one small store. The philosophy ultimately fueled Twin Liquors’ exceptional growth.
Can you point to a moment when you got your first big break or when you first realized you’d reached a level of real success? The icing on the cake was when I received the Texas Businesswoman of the Year Award from the Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2010/2011. The TBOY Award celebrates remarkable Texas women who personify professional excellence, recognizing their outstanding accomplishments and contributions. The honor put me among subsequent winners including Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett and Shell Oil President and CEO Lynn Elsenhans.
What then would you say is your biggest accomplishment? Philanthropy is an important piece of what makes me feel accomplished. Twin Liquors donates to more than 500 charities every year. It began with the American Heart Association, which holds a special place in my heart because of the loss of my eldest brother, Ralph, who passed at the age of 35 from heart complications that developed from rheumatic fever. Every cause is important.
That’s wonderful. It really makes customers feel they’ve a close tie with a company, doesn’t it? Being able to give back to the community is the best part of being a retailer in Texas. It is about connecting with our communities. Twin Liquors has neighborhood locations, and this enables us to connect with and know our neighborhoods. It is all about the people.
So with all success, there are also often difficulties and hard choices. What would you say has been your biggest challenge? I would enjoy spending even more quality time with the special people in my life. Life is precious, and it is important to live each and every day to the fullest. From the loss of my eldest brother, I have learned that time and relationships are extremely important.
That’s so true. Please tell us more about your family. I have been a single mother since 1994, giving undivided attention to the loves of my life, Michael and Joseph, my two sons. They are now 22 and 20 years old. There is a very loving and caring bond between us that developed from being a single mom when they were very young. It was always important to have strong communication and share quality time together, no matter how busy I was growing a business. My sons are my priority, my pleasure and a blessing. The origination of my family is my fantastic mother, Helen Jabour, who instilled in me great hospitality and manners, as well as how to truly care for others. Theodore Jabour, my father (Twin of Twin Liquors, deceased 2009), loved people and could immediately connect and care for everyone. I also have my brother, David Jabour, his wife, Sylvia, and their three children, Raphael and Gabrielle (twins) and David Michael, the youngest. Family is the root of what makes you understand community.
So what’s the best advice you ever got? My mother and father instilled in me at an early age to always take care of the other person.
Twin Liquors offers lots of great products — do you have a favorite beverage? Sparkling wine — which, of course, is affiliated with celebration. Each day is a celebration. Each day is a gift and should be celebrated. Each day is a new day to find meaning in whatever crosses my path and each and every person that I meet. I do not take life lightly. Enjoy each day no matter what challenges come your way. There is a reason and lesson to be learned in each challenge. Life is like the many bubbles in sparkling wine, always rising to the top. Each of us has a purpose. Connect and make things happen.
Tell us a little about why you love San Antonio so much, which you obviously do, and why it’s a good match for Twin Liquors. San Antonio is an exciting community and has welcomed us with open arms. As a young girl I remember hearing my father say, “San Antonio and Austin will basically be one city as population grows.” I feel it has definitely happened.
Read the full article at sawoman.com