Business partners Anna Reis and Chris Dortenzio know a good thing when they see one. When they noticed that the former Turnpike Pet Center building at 525 Tunxis Hill Road was for sale, they did what any successful entrepreneur would do. The partners bought it. They had been looking for just the right location to open a liquor store in town and the opportunity presented itself.

In opening Premier Wine & Spirits, Reis and Dortenzio bring with them a business partnership that has brought the pair much success for the past dozen years. They had owned three Dunkin Donuts franchises in Shelton and Monroe, which they now have sold, and they also are partners in Riverside Custom Homes, a home building company based locally which they have operated the past seven years.

Reis and Dortenzio had been looking to open another retail establishment for the past year and are excited to have discovered the spacious 3,000-square-foot space in a very visible location that met zoning requirements governing liquor establishments.

"We always wanted a liquor store," Dortenzio said. "It`s hard to find the right location. This is the only available place in Fairfield 1,500 feet from another liquor store.

The co-owners step into Premier Wine & Spirits with the same entrepreneurship and business skills that have steered them will with their other businesses. Their personalities as well as their business skills complement each other and have contributed to their past success and confidence with their new venture.

In preparation for opening the store, the owners did a lot of research as they selected the right stock, especially the 300 different kinds of wines that they have shelved for their recent opening day.

"It will grow," said Dortenzio, a reference to the current stock which is representative of his vast knowledge of wines that he brings to the new business. "I have been collecting wines for about ten years. If we don`t have an item, we will take note and get it from the distributor. We`re here for the community."

While Dortenzio handles a lot of the business aspects, Reis enjoys the meeting the customers.

"I`m so good at building businesses," said Reis, "because I first build relationships with people. I`m Italian. We love everybody."

"Basically, we`re trying to give people affordable wines that you can bring home and pair with dinner," Dortenzio said. "With this economy, people aren`t eating out as much. It`s good to be an assistant to people to spend less money and yet give them some entertainment"

In order to help people learn about wines and to assist in their selection, Premier Wine & Spirits hosts wine tasting events every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. At many of these events, wine distributors will introduce their wines to the general public.

The shop includes a special section where customers can select wine-related gifts and gift baskets, many of which are already assembled or customers may make their own selections for the basket items. The gift corner also includes books on wine and food, wine carriers and totes, serving platters and trays, wine glasses, candles, and wine racks. Reis noted that the gift corner offers great ideas for hostess and holiday gifts.

Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For information, call 345-9088.