Proof’d to close on Saturday

Approaching its first anniversary, Proof’d owners Christian and Rebecca Chotkowski will be shutting down their unique Plaza shop instead of celebrating its first year in business.

The tasting beer bar and liquor store at 19 W. Napa St. is closing because of a business decision. “But it wasn’t my business decision,” said Christian Chotkowski. “My landlord (Chase Bank) wants to sell the store – and they want to sell a vacant store.”

So the store, that’s been a liquor store in one form or another for more than 60 years, will be closing Saturday.

Back in June, Chotkowski was set to renew a five-year lease with the bank and had sent it by certified mail. “But the person I’ve been dealing with called me and said that since he hadn’t signed the lease yet, he was going to tear it up. He said they wanted to put the building on the market and he offered me a chance to buy,” he said.

But, the bank wanted almost $1 million for the building.

“I don’t have $1 million,” Chotkowski said. “If I had an extra $1 million, I wouldn’t be working here six days a week.”

He and his wife, Rebecca, worked for six weeks to transform their former liquor store, Historic Plaza Liquors, into Proof’d last year. The couple had operated Historic Plaza Liquors for the prior three years taking over the then Plaza Liquors.

Chotkowski has known for a while that the end was near, but didn’t want to announce it until the last week.

“I told my employees before we went on vacation the first week in August,” he said, “in case they could line up a job.”

He said he asked the bank to sell him the building a year ago, but when he had the building appraised, it wasn’t far off from what the bank is seeking.

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