Carrie Rengers

Auburn Wine & Spirits to open as east-side counterpart to Auburn Spirits

The east-side Auburn Wine & Spirits, a sister store to the west side’s Auburn Spirits, is opening in late October at 320 N. Rock Road. Cooper Geist, in the driver’s seat, will manage both stores. Owners are Bev Sauerwein, center, and Gretchen Klug-Oborny, right. Their husbands own the west-side store.
The east-side Auburn Wine & Spirits, a sister store to the west side’s Auburn Spirits, is opening in late October at 320 N. Rock Road. Cooper Geist, in the driver’s seat, will manage both stores. Owners are Bev Sauerwein, center, and Gretchen Klug-Oborny, right. Their husbands own the west-side store. The Wichita Eagle

Since Gary Oborny and Frank Sauerwein opened Auburn Spirits on the west side a decade ago, there’s one chief way that their wives, Bev Sauerwein and Gretchen Klug-Oborny, have been involved.

“We drank a lot of wine,” Klug-Oborny says.

Now, the two women are opening Auburn Wine & Spirits next month at 320 N. Rock Road where At the Beach used to be next to Bicycle Pedaler.

“They saw us doing it and thought they could do it a lot better,” Gary Oborny jokes.

Klug-Oborny is teasing about the opening, too.

“Frank and Gary have done a really good job on the west side with Auburn Spirits, but I think that Bev and I can do a better here. Kind of a challenge. A throw-down, if you will.”

The real reason has more to do with state law allowing only one liquor license per person. The same management group is involved with both, though, and Bev Sauerwien says they wanted to keep part of the Auburn name “maybe to show that we do have a relationship.”

Klug-Oborny says there’s recognition of good quality with the name.

“They do carry a lot of wines, a lot of craft beers. . . . They just have a good variety. The scotch and whiskey selection, too, is pretty good. . . . So there is going to be recognition because we do have quite a few people from the east side that do travel clear out there. So this is going to be a more convenient location for them.”

Auburn Spirits opened in 2008 at Oborny’s Auburn Pointe shopping center at the southeast corner of 135th and Maple, which his Occidental Management manages.

That store is 8,500 square feet. The new one is just under 12,000 square feet.

Gary Oborny calls it “contemporary and very cool.”

Sauerwein Construction, Bev and Frank Sauerwein’s company, is doing the interior finishing.

There will be a late October grand opening.

Depending on construction, there may be a soft opening before the grand opening, which will have wine tastings and special pricing.

“I think wine is going to be the forefront on the east side,” Bev Sauerwein says.

“We’ll do in-store tastings all the time,” says manager Cooper Geist.

There will be regular tastings on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Getting people to try something that maybe they wouldn’t have bought on their own,” Geist says. “Getting them to try something new and go, ‘Oh, I do enjoy this.’ Broaden their experience.”

He says the idea is to give customers a reason to drive past another liquor store to come to theirs.

“The idea and concept . . . is not being stopping at a liquor store but being more of an experience.”

Gary Oborny says he always felt that the Auburn brand could serve both the west and east sides of Wichita.

“I think we just had a lot of people who were friends and business associates that were . . . really wanting to see the same experience on the east side. So, a lot of times it’s the east side first and then the west side. This is kind of a different play this time.”

Geist says the Auburn experience at both stores is about having a staff with passion behind products along with education they can impart.

“We’re on the forefront of new trends and doing fun and interesting things and being able to show that to our customers and let them experience stuff as it’s relevant, new and fun.”

Judy and Jay Spengler have opened the first liquor store in Attica, KS, which was established in 1884. J & J Pit Stop is on the three-block Main Street, one block of which is vacant buildings.

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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