The former Yogi’s Liquors, at Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Leighton Avenue, has been rebranded A1 Liquors. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03A liquor store on Red Bank’s West Side that had a seedy reputation was getting ready to reopen last week with a new look, a new business plan and a new approach to customers, its owners said.

Parul Pathan and her husband, Shakil Pathan, have rebranded the former Yogi’s Liquors, at Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Leighton Avenue, as A1 Liquors.

The change comes three years after the business closed in the spring of 2014, following the deaths within a month of each other of Parul’s father, Mohanlal ‘Yogi’ Parekh, and her stepmother.

The business operated as a liquor store for 30 years, but in its last years, relied heavily on the sale of “40s” and airline “minis.” Customers had to be buzzed in, and paid a clerk seated behind bulletproof glass. The clerk was often surly, said Shakil, referring to his late mother-in-law, who he only met once.

“Customers said she was pretty nasty,” he said.

The Pathans, who inherited the business with three of Parul’s siblings, have now given the building a complete renovation, they said. The door buzzer and bulletproof glass are gone. There’s still an array of minis behind the counter, but the refrigerator is stocked with a wider array of beers and soft drinks than previously, and the shelves along two short aisles carry a mix of cut-rate and top-brand liquors, including Woodford Reserve bourbon and Patron tequila.

“It’s not just the low-end products anymore,” said Shakil.

The couple’s aim, Parul said, is to restore the family business as good neighbor.

“Our goal is to respect people, because people didn’t get respected here,” she said.

The second-floor apartment where Yogi lived has a new tenant, he said.