Arrow Wine & Spirits traces its roots to 1934, when the Great Depression still gripped the nation. Three brothers — Irv, Malcolm and Sanford Frank — transformed the two cars and $15 in combined savings into a business on North Ludlow Street across from the Arcade in downtown Dayton.
The brothers started purchasing liquor from state liquor stores (which were doing a brisk business after the lifting of Prohibition) and delivering to homes, bars, restaurants, hotels, country clubs and perhaps an after-hours joint or two. They called their business “Arrow” to remind customers how fast and accurate they were.
Times have changed, but the business has retained its focus on customer service. Today, both Arrow stores, in Kettering and in Washington Twp., are under the direction of third-generation owners (with input from the second generation).
Beth Freyvogel, who oversees day-to-day operations of the Lyons Road store near Centerville, and Mif Frank, who oversees the Far Hills Avenue store in Kettering at its border with Oakwood, are now poised to launch a third location in Mason. And they are our Dayton.com Daytonians of the Week.
Here’s what Freyvogel and Frank had to say about the responsibilities of third-generation business ownership, and about a whole lot more:
What’s the significance for you as third-generation business owners to be overseeing a venture founded by your grandfather and great uncles?
Beth: 85 years is a long time. I am very proud of the long-standing, small family business, and I was my Grandpa’s biggest fan. I loved him very much. I grew up in the stores and have always enjoyed working there. I am excited and honored to continue as the third generation.
Mif: I am fortunate to have grown up under the tutelage of my dad and uncle, learning the savvy business principles and hard work ethic set forth by my grandfather and great uncles. They all laid the groundwork for our stores to succeed into the third generation, something statistics show is fairly uncommon.
Any special plans to mark the 85th anniversary beyond the special tasting you hosted at the Centerville store last weekend?
Mif: We will continue to hold special events throughout the year and hopefully bring in a wine “celebrity” or two. We don’t really want to celebrate us. We want to thank our loyal customers who have made our longevity possible.
Beth: We will be doing more special events throughout the summer and fall. We will also have a special 85-year celebration at our annual Holiday Tasting in November. Arrowwineandspirits.com is a great way to keep up with our events.
What's been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge?
Beth: My most recent professional challenge has been preparing to open our third location. We had been trying for another store for about a decade and now that we are here, the logistics are so time-consuming. We continue to push through with a light at the end of the tunnel.
Mif: As a small business, we face many challenges. Increased competition is probably at the forefront. Our business model since day one has been to have the best selection, employ a knowledgeable staff and provide impeccable customer service.
What are your favorite places to eat and/or drink in the Dayton area?
Mif: While Dayton has many fabulous dining and imbibing options, The Oakwood Club has always been my tried-and-true hangout.
Beth: My favorite place for wine is obviously Arrow Wine Centerville on Saturdays for wine tasting. I always try to support local places for food, so Meadowlark, Jay’s and Lock 27 are some of my favorites. We are so lucky to have so many locally owned choices. The local beer scene is also awesome.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Beth: My guilty pleasures are live music and travel.
Mif: Binging on chocolate – cake, cookies, candy – you name it!
What inspires you about Dayton?
Mif: It’s all about the people. Our city has had its share of ups and downs, and we are on the uptick. The people of Dayton continue to be loyal to homegrown business, and our community leaders are doing a tremendous job resurrecting the region — two vital keys that make it great in Dayton.
Beth: I love Dayton. I love its size. I am inspired by its entrepreneurial community that creates and supports local businesses. I love that we have access to an amazing park system and lots of outdoor activities all while living in an affordable place.
What do you see in Dayton's future?
Beth: Dayton continues to get better every year. The downtown is beginning to thrive again. Young people have pride in their community. I look forward to many more years of Arrow Wine and Spirits, passing it along to the next generation.
Mif: I think the future is bright. Our focus on revitalizing downtown will continue to attract companies to the region, and with that an influx of young professionals. Dayton is a very affordable city to live in and has many wonderful communities in which to raise a family.