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Shaker Square Citizen
Celebrating persons who have helped make Shaker Square a special place.
Fifth in a series.
Dr. Gene Veronesi
President of Shaker Square Beverages

Were you at the community meeting about the Square called by S.H.A.D. in February 2004?  Then you may remember that when the speeches ended and the meeting was opened for discussion, a merchant came to the front of the theater and spoke vigorously about ways to improve the Square.

Then you've heard Dr. Gene Veronesi, President of Shaker Square Beverages. Gene has the right to speak out: he owns the oldest store on the Square and he has run it for more than 20 years.

Dr. Gene Veronesi

We can't think of another store owner or manager or restauranteur who has been here even half that long.

Shaker Square Beverages was opened by Jurgen Von Leutwitz on April 1, 1937. It is by far the most senior business on the Square and is the oldest wine retailer in Ohio. You'll find it in the southeast quadrant of the Square, next to Yours Truly.

Gene learned the wine business by coming in as an apprentice and working free part-time for a year until an opening was available. He bought Shaker Beverages in 1984 when it had two stores. Now there are four stores: the Square, Severance Town Center, the Halle Building in Playhouse Square, and the Campus Wine Cellars on East Main Street in Kent.

Advice on buying wine (and sometimes on other topics) is available from Gene at the store and on his website

In his more than 20 years on the Square Gene Veronesi has been active in the Merchants Association, serving as its Vice President and President.

He is concerned today about the lack of an active Merchants Association and says "When the activities planned for and paid for by the merchants are solely at the discretion of the Landlord, without merchant's input, there is no gauge to measure success or failure. We were promised such a measuring tool for feedback. We are still waiting."

Born in Pittsburgh, Gene really is Doctor Veronesi. He earned a Ph.D. from Case in Early modern European art and is currently completing a second Ph.D. in Italian History at the University of Akron.

On a personal note, since I started these pages no one on the Square has been more helpful than Gene Veronesi.

I decided to build this website for Shaker Square and registered its domain name the day before the open meeting in February 2004. The day after the meeting I visited Shaker Beverages to tell Gene about my plans. He then took a few steps back from the counter to his computer, always connected to the internet, brought up his email, and in a minute had sent an enthusiastic message with the news to all the other businesses on the Square. He continues to be a supporter of this project and a source of information and ideas.

Arnold Berger

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