Growing up in Severna Park, Don MacMurray didn’t think he’d ever inhabit the space where he gathered with friends for social hours. But that’s exactly what happened in 2011 when he took over Harbour Wine & Spirits on Benfield Road.
The store was the second for Don and his wife, Cathy, who became the owners of Port Tack Wine & Spirits in Arnold in 1978. They immediately brought a fresh look to the Severna Park space.
“When we took over initially, we completely redid the interior and remodeled the store,” Don said.
Some people spend their lives working in an industry or inherit a family business from mom and dad. Don was the opposite. His experience in the field was limited prior to 1978, so he got a job in Crofton working for a friend who was a wine manager and wholesale distributor.
“I took some wine courses and I learned on the fly,” he said.
Over the years, Don has enjoyed interacting with customers, some of whom are his neighbors from Olde Severna Park. At Harbour Wine & Spirits, he also has the help of Kerry Drapalski, a former Severna Park High School math teacher who has worked for Don for about eight years and managed the store for about 20 years, including the years before the MacMurrays acquired the store.
“It’s been an extension of dealing with people I taught and keeping in touch with what they have done since school,” said Drapalski, who has enjoyed working with Don at the liquor store. “Our ideas mesh, and we both believe in the importance of customer service. We’re always looking to make things better.”
Plenty has changed since 1978, giving Don and Cathy many opportunities to make things better. While Harbour Wine & Spirits specializes in a vast selection of imported and domestic wines, and a large selection of craft beers, its offerings reflect shifts in other trends.
“From then to now, the products that are available, there are probably 50 times more,” Don said. “The drinks like White Claw and Truly are exploding. For a while, wine coolers were a big thing, and that kind of died off. Fruit-flavored and lower-calorie drinks are big now, and the closest thing in the beginning was little individual cocktails. There’s a newfound popularity of distilled spirits, especially bourbon.”
Popular beverages have come and gone, but the MacMurrays have stayed constant in their support of the community. Harbour Wine & Spirits routinely gives donations to local sports teams and organizations.
“It’s something that helps the community and we are thrilled to be part of the community,” Don said.
Harbour Wine & Spirits is located at 527 Benfield Road in Severna Park. To learn more, call 410-544-6377.