The history of Stawski Distributing is like any other successful firm: based on hard work, identifying potential markets and following the high road of business ethics in dealing with customers.
Stawski's market of beers, honey wines, cordials, spirits and wines from the countries in the center of Europe is one built by the man who's name is over the company's door: Stanley Stawski.
Born in Poland in 1924, Stawski survived the 1939 invasion of his country by the Germans. In 1944, he took part in the Warsaw Uprising as a member of the underground Home Army. Captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp, Stawski headed to Italy after his camp was liberated, and joined the 2nd Polish Corps.
Two years after the war ended, the British sent his unit to England and when the British demobilized his unit in 1951, Stawski left for the United States. He had $20 in his pocket.
By 1954, Stawski was working as a liquor and wine salesman in Chicago. Six years later, he opened his own company, importing beers from Poland and Austria.
As with any new business, the beginning years were difficult, especially in dealing with countries that were, at the time, run by socialist governments who distrusted anything American. Sales were appropriate for a small operation.
The company distributes to 30 states. The operation retains a family-run air about it. Wife Barbara is the company's treasurer while daughter Nina Engel is vice president and corporate secretary.
Stawski credits his success to "hard work and perseverance." His perseverance is now bearing fruit. Stawski Imports dealings with the state-run liquor monopolies of the Central European nations have given him product-knowledge and personal contacts to bring over the best and newest products.