Iconic family-run King City liquor store provides more than spirits
When you chat with Sheri Daniels, the agent at King City Liquor Store, it doesn't take long before she directs the conversation to her father, Leo Stratton, who was the store agent before her.
"I started working for my dad when I was 18," Daniels said, noting her father's liquor store was originally located in Summerfield, a short distance away.
Daniels learned the business under the supervision of her father and has been an agent at the store, located in King City Plaza, for almost seven years.
According to Daniels, her father stressed the importance of knowing the products in the liquor store. He also stressed friendliness.
"He had a two-second rule," Daniels remembered. "When somebody would walk in, he would say 'hello.' He was just bigger than life -- I would follow him in the liquor store when he would talk to somebody. I would soak it all in and remember. He was my best friend."
Daniels added, "I'm the youngest of five girls, and I was a young girl who always idolized my dad. He was bigger than anything."
With a feeling of pride, Daniels continued, "My dad always said that he wanted me to be his clone. And I became his clone."
Stratton's personality rubbed off on Daniels and now the store is thriving, she said.
"We just draw people in," Daniels said. "We have product knowledge. We're very accommodating to our customers."
According to Daniels, people visit her store from as far away as the Oregon Coast, Hood River and Gresham.
"They'll come in and say, 'hey, I'm coming to this store,'" Daniels said. "Once they get in, they will get a bottle of whatever – We know all about drinks. I have a bar mix. I have everything there."
In describing her father and his work ethic, Daniels said, "Dad's just smart, a very smart man -- The first thing my dad taught me was to remember their name. When they came in it would be 'hi Jim, hi Victoria.'"
Daniels stressed the importance of this degree of customer service.
"People like that," she said. "When you say 'hello and I'll be right with you,' people like that because they feel that they're acknowledged, so they're more apt to be comfortable and wait, if you had a line."
Daniels admits that the Oregon Lottery put King City Liquor on the map, especially when television stations would come out and interview Stratton when the lottery reached high jackpots.
One of those jackpots reached $23 million.
"When it got to be $23 million, a guy who graduated at Grant High School recognized my dad, from Grant High School, so he came in from Portland and bought some tickets and he hit it," Daniels recalled with a smile.
"In 2018 we hit an $8.5 million ticket in the liquor store, and now, just a few weeks ago, we did a million," Daniels said. A Tigard couple were the recent lucky recipients in the Oregon Lottery Mega Millions game.
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Daniels continues her strong customer service.
"Everybody pretty much knows the deal now," she said. "You have to be six feet apart, you have to wear a mask. I only let five people at a time come into the store. We have shields – everybody is really good about it."
At the King City Liquor Store, Daniels keeps her mother, who also died, and father in her thoughts at all times.
"I feel that I've had such big shoes to walk in and I could tell you that I absolutely feel that my mom and dad are very proud of their daughter," she said.
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