Volzes sell Ken Del Liquors
in Madison, Ind., after 46 years
New owners plan to expand
the store’s craft beer offerings
(April 2017) – There has been a changing of the guard at the oldest package liquor store in Madison, Ind. Ken and Marilyn Volz, who have owned Ken Del Liquors since 1971, sold it to Jessica Risacher and Jeremy Ochs, who also own Old Town Liquors in Vernon, Ind.
Many customers have memories of a late night visit to Ken Del taking much longer than the time needed to purchase beer or whiskey as they listen to the interesting tales told by Ken Volz, a natural storyteller with a wealth of information about all things Madison, the river and whiskey.
“I don’t know when the store first opened,” said Volz, 75. “When we moved here in 1971, Leonard Jacobs had owned it for 38 years. There are probably some taverns older, but no package stores.”
Photo by John Sheckler
From left, former owners Ken and Marilyn Volz pose with new owners Jeremy Ochs and Jessica Risacher.
The Volzes started the business after leaving the family auto dealership, Volz Chevrolet, which was across the street on what is now a city parking lot.
The grand opening of Mad Town Liquors is planned from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 14. There will be samples and door prizes. The store is located at the corner of Mulberry and Second streets.
He has fond memories of several generations of customers.
“Over a period of years, I served four generations,” he remembers. “I would card some young person and ask if he was related to a customer I remembered from long ago. They would answer, ‘Yes, that is my grandfather.’ ”
“Age made us leave,” said Marilyn, 71. “We are ready to retire and spend more time with our family. I am looking forward to being just a mother.”
“When you run a small business, you always have to be on call,” said Ken. “After a while, the old motor gets tired.”
Ken joked that “we have 113/4 grandchildren,” considering that No. 12 is on the way. “It is time for us to spend time with them.”
Ken and Marilyn are happy with the new owners and their plans for the store.
“We like their energy,” Ken said. “They have new ideas and are a good fit for the store and can keep it going. They are good hometown, small-town people.”
“This is our second store,” said Risacher, 29. In addition to operating Old Town Liquors in Vernon, the couple also organizes the Fermentation festival at Muscatatuck County Park in Jennings County. That beer and wine festival will be held for the second year on June 24 this year.
It was not easy to get started, she said. “Our first-year festival in North Vernon exceeded everyone’s expectations.” She said. “People were hesitant to have it and didn’t think it would go over. It was nerve racking. It felt really good to bring something that worked so well to that area. We were able to raise money for Jennings County Youth foundation and the Muscatatuck playground project.”
The couple wants to offer a similar festival in Madison and offer camping, so people can stay overnight.
“We want to create an Indiana premium beer and wine festival,” said Risacher.
“We would like to bring our art experience with us to festivals,” added Ochs, 34. But Madison already has so many good festivals.”
Plans are under way for a grand opening of Mad Town Liquors on April 14 when Ken Del Liquors will officially become Mad Town Liquors.
“We will offer a huge selection of craft beer, a monster selection of wine, as well as craft brewing and wine making supplies,” said Risacher.
She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA from Indiana University. She has experience as an international account manager at a consumer products company. Risacher is also a real estate agent with F.C. Tucker. That business experience gives her countless ideas for Mad Town Liquors.
“We hope to add a home brew club with a loyalty program where people can build points to get discounts,” she added.
The grand opening will feature samples and door prizes. And working with the community is a keystone of her plans.
“We will make sure we will carry whatever is on tap at the local taverns,” said Risacher.”We want to be Madison’s destination for craft beer. We look forward to bringing a new culture to Madison.”
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