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Bel-Port Liquors Could Stay In Lakeview With Help From Bow Truss

By Ariel Cheung | April 25, 2016 1:23pm
 Bow Truss will open a new location at 1362 W. Belmont Ave. this year.
Bow Truss will open a new location at 1362 W. Belmont Ave. this year.
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Provided/Phil Tadros

LAKEVIEW — Bel-Port Liquors had some important visitors Monday, and they just might help save the store.

Owner Joe Barbari was preparing to close his store after 34 years at 1362 W. Belmont Ave. after the building was sold and his landlord told him to move out by mid-May.

"This is how I make a living," said Barbari, 50. "I didn't know how I could afford to send my kids to school."

Barbari said he was being forced out to make way for a new Bow Truss Coffee Roasters location, which Bow Truss founder Philip Tadros said he hoped to open in the next six months.

RELATED: Bow Truss Founder Wants To Revitalize Belmont-Southport Corner With New Location

Tadros said he was under the impression Barbari was retiring and voluntarily closing the store.

"The moment I found out he didn't want to leave, I reached out to the new owners and then went over to meet him for the first time," Tadros said Monday. "We are looking to figure out how to keep him in the building."

One option is for Bel-Port to move into the smaller storefront behind the area Bow Truss is taking over. Tadros previously said negotiations were still in the works for a tenant in the space, located slightly north of the Belmont and Southport intersection.

RELATED: With Bel-Port Liquors Closing, Joe Barbari & His Cool Bird Say Goodbye

"I'm surprised he reached out to me," Barbari said of Tadros. "I thought there was no way we could stay open."

While a deal is still in the works, Tadros said it's not the first time he's tweaked initial business plans to help out a fellow neighbor.

Joe Barbari and his cockatoo, Sasha, at Bel-Port Liquors. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

When Tadros opened Space, a shared office space at Wabash and Illinois, he worked with the After-Words bookstore to share the building. Renovation work even preserved a portion of the wood floor where the bookstore owner got married.

"I can see the liquor store and Bow Truss being great neighbors," in a similar way, Tadros said. "We are just giving an honest effort to keep them if we can."

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