Byron's Liquor Warehouse opened its door on December 7th, 1959. Byron's Liquor is owned and operated by Byron and Patricia Gambulos. Byron's Liquor Warehouse is a pioneer in the OKC liquor industry. Offering the lowest prices and largest selection since 1959.
Byron has owned and operated several businesses to include; a burger restaurant, parking lots, Pat’s fashion dress store, and was the vice-president of Liebold-Gambulos Construction Company after serving in the U.S. Army during WWII and the Korean conflict.
In 1957, as the Prohibition Law ended, Governor Howard Edmondson vigorously helped Oklahoman's have a choice to legalize alcohol. In 1958, the government asked Mr. Gambulos to set up mock liquor store so people would have an idea of what a liquor store should look like. Byron saw this as an opportunity to sell store furniture and fixtures. Instead businessmen bought or rented the mock stores to operate them. Eventually, he built 55 stores across the state. But fate intervened and in September 1959 when he built a liquor store on the corner of NW 23rd and Lincoln to lease out; the businessman that was going to purchase the store was unable to get a liquor license so Byron decided to operate it himself. The stored opened for business on December 7th 1959 as Byron’s Package Store. The “package” refers to the brown paper bags used to conceal liquor bottles during the Prohibition era. The store started with only two employees but was able to make $1000 in sales the first Saturday in business. Byron thought “this is a new industry with unbelievable growth, its pre-marketed and will not go out of style” based on this he decided to leave the fashion business and enter the liquor industry. The original store was 3,900 sq. feet and the first year Byron’s made over a 1 million dollars. Byron could not believe his good fortune.
In Sept. 1959, the State went “wet”, there were no franchises, no price control and anyone could get a liquor license.
In 1961, the state condemned the property he operated out of so Byron moved to a building owned by the family on 23rd and Broadway.
In 1962, the Liquor price war started. Since the State did not control pricing as volume went up prices got lower. Low cost wholesalers were changing the retail business concept creating the advantage of buying low. This gave Byron the opportunity to buy at low prices and foster to keep the prices low by eliminating various attempts to develop a monopoly of price fixing. In 1963-1965, Byron pioneered in offering the lowest prices to the consumer. Byron’s has not only survived adversity, it has earned a solid spot as Oklahoma’s largest volume liquor retailer. Due to his persistence and tenacity in overcoming the roadblocks placed before him, Byron has throughout the years been a pioneer in changing liquor laws not only in Oklahoma but in other States that have adopted regulations similar to ours.
In the 60’s, he was voted the largest cash & carry liquor store in America. 1970, Byron started a major expansion program that has led to a 30,000 sq foot store. Byron’s was named 1990 Market Watch Leader, an elite list of about a dozen of the nation’s most successful liquor retailers. Byron has traveled abroad several times to the wine growing areas of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal largely due to the increasing number of people in Oklahoma who enjoy fine wines. Byron’s is the first retail store to conduct wine tastings off premises. Some of the promotions that Byron created to attract customers were; Western Months (with real guns) and Tiger-Tank featuring a real tiger with an Old Charter Bottle on the top of the cage and also some famous people to shop at our store; Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley body guards for Elvis Presley (waiting in the limo), William Jennings and George Wallace.
Byron has also been a member of many social, civic and government organizations like MAPS, Midwest Enterprises, Board Member of the Oklahoma Zoological Trust just to mention a few.
A shrewd businessman he is, with a heart of gold to go with it. Pride, thought, hard work, good business judgment in developing and maintaining a serviceable store for the benefit of the people are the best words to describe Mr. Gambulos success. Competitive pricing remains the key part of the store’s philosophy. Through our policy of staying two steps ahead of both our competition and the economy we have managed to maintain an increase in volume despite some less than desirable economic times.