(Photos courtesy of Blue Hill Package)
Back in June, a rundown building housed Blue Hill Liquors at 108 Blue Hill Ave. in Roxbury. Graffiti crisscrossed its walls and the brown siding peeled from its frame. A Budweiser sign protruded from the top of the building.
Elilibeth Abreu, 25 and her husband Ariel, 26, bought Blue Hill Liquors three months ago and remodeled it from the inside out, even renaming it Blue Hill Package. It’s too early to tell how well business will pick up. But the new place surely marks an improvement in the neighborhood.
“An opportunity came out,” Elilibeth Abreu said simply. “My father owns other liquor stores.”
The Abreus opened the doors of the new store on Sept. 22, and they’re excited to see it grow. Elilibeth knows the liquor business well.
“I grew up in the liquor business and I started working when I was 18,” said Abreu. “I like the business.”
Elilibeth Abreu’s father owns three liquor stores on Blue Hill Avenue and some in other cities. She is continuing a tradition of making the new Blue Hill Package a family-oriented business with five of her family members working with her.
“With the remodel we did, we just wanted to make Roxbury look a little nicer,” she said.
The building now boasts new yellow siding with a lit and an “open” sign in the non-grated windows. The floors are white and the fridges inside are stocked with everything from soda to different liquors. Candy and gum are at the counter.
Elilibeth Abreu has posted before and after pictures on the store’s Facebook page: Blue Hill Package.
The customers seem to like the changes as well. “Very nice,” said Artis Brown, who has shopped at the old store for 20 years, said when he walked in on a recent Monday. “It don’t look like the same place to me.”
Jenna Perreira, 33, was even more emphatic. “It went from zero to 10,” said Perreira. “It was rundown before. This is like luxury right now.”
Perreira, however, added that a spruced up liquor store isn’t necessarily good for the community.
“It’s not doing too much for alcohol abuse,” he said. “It has made the community a little prettier though.”
The Abreus will hold the official grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 3, though they already are open on Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 11 pm.
The story was written under a partnership between Emerson College and the Globe.