Jerry Jaques started as a laborer in the Twin Ports shortly after returning from military service in the mid 1950’s. He soon realized he never wanted to depend on others for a career and followed his grandfather’s footsteps of building homes and apartment buildings. Jaques Builders was soon a bustling company with Jerry and his wife,
Rose operating the organization that built more than 300 homes in the area and other commercial properties such as Highland Village Apartments and HighLand Supper Club in Duluth. Jerry became the president of the local home builders association and had fond memories of driving entertainers such as Roy Clark and Lynn Anderson from the Duluth International Airport to the newly built Radisson Hotel as part of his duties of organizing the yearly shows at the Duluth Arena.
An opportunity arose to operate the Belknap Bar and Café located in downtown Superior in the mid 60’s. This proved very successful and the restaurant was well known for the North Country Steak cut of meat that was developed by Upper Lakes Foods specifically for the Belknap. Countless stories could be told about the colorful lives of many of the customers that frequented this establishment, but as children, we learned our father’s first rule was to never repeat any of them.
He soon purchased the vacated Rookey Transfer building, also known as C’s Lounge and Restaurant and used it as a warehouse for the burgeoning liquor store operation at the bar. Wholesalers would send fork lift trucks to meet fully-loaded semi-trucks of beer and liquor to unload the product into his warehouse. As kids, we spent many afternoons after school loading the product on the back of our dad’s flatbed truck and bringing it over to the bar backrooms.
To keep pricing low, he came up with the slogan “warm – no bag” as a way to articulate to customers how they can save by buying from him. In 1979, his heart was broken when the building was razed by the state to make room for a new bridge to replace the adjacent aging wooden viaduct structure.
After a few months of taking it easy around their home, our mother strongly encouraged him to seek other gainful means of employment. The chance to purchase the Belknap Plaza Shopping Center sparked his interest and after nine long months of retirement, our father bought it and the bar and liquor store operations then known as Dominic’s.
He also began a partnership with Paul Heytens to remodel the bar and restaurant his construction company built in the late 60’s and known as the Shack into a complex that included a full service restaurant. Also purchased was the restaurant at the Superior Airport known as Northern Airways. It was renamed Belknap South and kept our parents very busy. Serving customers food and entertainment was in their blood.
Through these restaurant years, dad was very active in and became chapter president of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. As kids growing up, we knew we weren’t going to a restaurant just to eat, we were going as ambassadors of the association.
Our father also enjoyed being on the board of the Community Bank in Superior and many great friendships were created from it.
As dad grew into his late sixties, he sold the Belknap South and his apartment buildings and focused on the Plaza and in particular, Belknap Liquor and Lounge. After many changes and remodeling projects at the Plaza, his business, which he started with little money but lots of determination, continued the family tradition of providing excellent service and quality products at a reasonable price. This dedication was passed down to his children who are also committed to customers and the community.
Top 11 Reasons to shop Belknap Liquor
- Friendly, knowledgeable staff
- Plenty of free, easy parking
- Clean, well-lit store
- Handicap accessible
- We’ll carryout upon request
- No waiting in line with 3 cash registers
- Centrally located in Superior in the Belknap Plaza
- Our sales tax is only 5.5%
- We don’t collect and sell your personal information
- View the world’s largest collection of hand-painted liquor decanters made in the United States
- Get your picture taken with “Jack”