(November 24, 2009) Austin, TX — Today the Twin Liquors family says goodbye to the “Twin” of Twin Liquors, Theodore Jabour, who passed away Monday afternoon at the age of 88.
Theodore Jabour was born on New Year’s Day, 1921, in Austin, Texas. Theodore’s father, Albert, and his family were merchants, and they operated a mercantile store (that was started back in the late 1800s) in the heart of Austin, Texas, which was then Congress Avenue and Pecan Street (the current Sixth Street). As a young boy, Theodore learned how to be a retailer, and he and his twin brother, Arthur, loved working in the family business. Austin was just a small town back then, and on warm summer days, Theodore and Arthur would walk across what is now Lady Bird Lake (when the river would only be a trickle), and they would run and play at East Avenue Park, which later became part of Interstate Highway 35. As a child, Theodore watched his beloved church, St. Elias Orthodox Church, be built in 1933, and he would later attend and serve this church for the rest of his life.
During World War II, he and Arthur joined the U.S. Army and, at all times, were stationed together at the request of their mother, Mary, and the action of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They faithfully served in the Philippines and New Guinea. After the Army, Theodore and Arthur returned to Austin and began working in the family’s store which had since evolved, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, from a mercantile store into a liquor store, a drug store, and a soda fountain that was known as “Jabour’s Package Store.” In 1953, Theodore and Arthur traveled to Lebanon, the country of their ethnic origin, with their mother. There they both met their brides and within three weeks were married in a double wedding ceremony. The couples returned to Austin to live.
Theodore, along with Arthur, their mother, and their brother, Jesse, worked hard and by the mid-1940s, had expanded “Jabour’s Package Store” from one store into three liquor stores and a tavern that only sold beer and featured the first live music on Sixth Street. For approximately the next four decades, Theodore and Arthur were more than just merchants, providing wisdom, advice, support, encouragement, and attention to all of their customers. Not surprisingly, they had many friends and received countless invitations for graduations and weddings and were truly loved by their customers. In September 1981, Theodore and Arthur decided to retire after being in the liquor industry for approximately 40 years. The family then closed the store and tavern.
When he was not working, Theodore was extremely active in his church and was a pillar of St. Elias Church. Theodore served as greeter for many years and was a life time parish counsel member. His love for his faith and his warmth for people brought many to inquire further about the Orthodox faith. Theodore enjoyed seeing the many people that converted to Orthodoxy and several that subsequently became ordained priests and deacons throughout the country.
Theodore’s love for people soon brought him out of retirement. In February of 1982, his immediate family, consisting of his children, Ralph(deceased), Margaret, and David, and Theodore’s brother-in-law, Gabe Diab, began operating a small 700-square-foot liquor store at the corner of 7th and Red River in downtown Austin. The family named the store “Twin Liquors” in honor of Theodore who was known around town at that time as “Twin.”
Theodore’s business philosophy provided the foundation for Twin Liquors’ existence. Theodore fundamentally instilled in his children the importance of relationships and customer service, and how serving and helping your community is an essential component of fulfilling the needs of customers. This philosophy ultimately fueled Twin Liquors’ great growth. From the inception of Twin Liquors, the Jabours’ vision for the company has been to expand the business in order to serve its communities in every possible neighborhood with personnel that share the owners’ passion and sentiment for the consumer and the industry. Today Twin Liquors consists of 59 locations throughout Central Texas and supports over 500 charitable events annually.
Theodore’s passion and love for his immediate family brought him immense joy, and he preferred to spend his days working together with his family and building a respected business rather than enjoying a leisurely retirement. He was extremely proud of the fact that, today, the Jabour family members are third-generation Austinites, proudly raising the fourth generation of Austinites.
Theodore remained active in Twin Liquors until his death providing passion, wisdom and direction to the company. Even days before his death, the sparkle in his eyes and vigor in his voice when discussing company business confirmed his unwavering and steadfast commitment to his community, industry and family. In an era when businesses rise and fall with relatively brief periods of success, it is reassuring to find that Twin Liquors has stood the test of time because of the beliefs of its founder. That’s the real testimony to honoring a heritage, a family and a father.
May his memory be eternal.