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Savannah Stalwart: Johnnie Ganem's

  • Louise Ganem, Marianne Ganem Poppell and Evelyn Ganem of Johnnie Ganem’s package and wine shop. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Ganem’s)
  • Johnnie Ganem’s will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. (Photo by Andrew Forino/Special to the Savannah Morning News)
  • Photo courtesy of Johnnie Ganem’s - Louise and Johnnie Ganem in their engagement photo in 1944.

Location and hours:

501 Habersham St.

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday

9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday

9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday

Closed on Sundays

Evelyn Ganem, daughter of Johnnie Ganem, answered our questions for this series.

How long have you been in business?

75 Years in 2017

How many employees do you have?

15

How would you describe your business?

Johnnie Ganem’s is a third-generation family-run business. We sell domestic and imported wine, liquor and beer, as well as provide full-service bar catering. Customer service has always been our No. 1 priority. We are extremely involved in the community and believe in giving back to help others, said Evelyn Ganem.

How has your business changed over the years?

Johnnie Ganem’s started in 1942 as a small liquor store on the comer of Price and Gaston streets, and in 1947 moved to the current location at Habersham and Gaston streets. We acquired the adjacent building and opened a restaurant, serving lunch and dinner; later we added a late-night breakfast. The restaurant grew and in 1965 we opened a supper club – The Rebel Room – with dinner and dancing to a live band.

In 1982 we closed the restaurant and expanded the liquor store. Since we have grown the full-service bar catering and host monthly charity wine tastings.

What has been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?

Our biggest challenge came in the 1980s with Savannah expanding to the south side, so many new restaurants were opening away from downtown, so we chose to close the restaurant, keep the catering business and increase our wine selections.

What aspect of the business are you most proud of?

Family. The fact that as a family we have managed to keep a small business going for 75 years is a feat in itself. We are proud to open our doors each and every day and be able to serve our community.

Stalwart is defined as “marked by outstanding strength and vigor; loyal, hardworking and reliable.” What is it about your business that makes it a Savannah stalwart?

The Ganem family in general are hard workers. We have been a staple in the Savannah Community for 75 years. Our family and our business believes strongly in our community and contributing our time and dollars to helping others.

What do you hope for the future of your business?

We hope to see it grow, change and evolve for the better, for generations to come.

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