Tricounty News

JB Liquor celebrates 25th anniversary

John Bolvin was born and raised in Rhode Island. He lived in for awhile Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and in California; he served in the Naval Air Force, serving six months in Vietnam. He returned to the D.C. area.

Jobs were hard to come by, though, and he decided to head west for work. His choice was either Cleveland or Minneapolis. He knew Duane Becker (from Watkins) from the service, so he came to Minneapolis. Cleveland's loss was our gain.

For years, John was the national representative for Pako. He travelled a lot, selling printing equipment.

When his son Michael was bork, in the early 1980s, he decided it was time to stop traveling. The family had a lake house near South Haven, and by the mid-1980s they had sold their home in the Cities and moved to the lake home for good.

In 1987, John decided to try something new. He bought the land and built JB Liquor. In January 2004, they added on to the building, nearly doubling the size.

Three of John's four children have worked in the store over the years: Mike, Michelle and Melissa. (Mark is the one missing here.) John's wife Jackie does the book work at home.

Melissa works full-time there now, as manager. She also attends St. Cloud State University, studying criminal justice. She expects to graduate this spring, and hopes to find work in probation and chemical dependency counseling. When she does find a job in her career field, John will need to find a new manager. It may be a contest to see which is harder to fill, a new job for Melissa or a new manager for JB Liquor.

Besides Melissa and Jackie, JB Liquor has four part-time employees.

John describes himself as "semi-retired," working part-time, mostly in the mornings.

"I'm gonna keep working as long as I can," John says, adding "We'll see what happens when the time comes [to find a replacement for Melissa]."

John enjoys playing at golf and, as Melissa says, he pretends to fish. A large part of his life now is serving in the POW/MIA Honor Guard through the Wat-Kim-Valley V.F.W. This year marks the 25th year the group has marched together, at various local parades and events. Monday this week, they participated in the Maple Lake V.F.W. Veterans Day program. Just about any local parade, you'll see John proudly marching with the Honor Guard.