FARGO - Dustin Mitzel, CEO of Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops, has been appointed to second vice president on the Wine and Spirits Guild of America’s board of directors.

It’s an “organization that understands the importance of family businesses and privately owned businesses,” Mitzel said Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Mitzel is ready for the opportunity to offer his ideas and support for the industry's privately owned and family-owned businesses.

"I look forward to helping the Wine and Spirits Guild of America grow over the next decade and offer my perspective and experience," he said.

It’s important that the trade group's businesses “have a way to ensure a path to grow and (a path) to the future,” Mitzel said.

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Mitzel said if his time on the board goes well, he will become president of the organization a few years down the road.

Happy Harry’s has three shops in Fargo and two in Grand Forks.

The company was started by “Happy” Harry Gershman in 1944 as Central Package Store in downtown Grand Forks. Harry’s son, Hal Gershman, took over operations in 1976, expanding the business to five locations.


Mitzel said that in 2015, Happy Harry’s became 100% employee-owned with the creation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

The Wine and Spirits Guild of America has about 40 primary members who are the leading independent retailers of wine, spirits and beer. Member businesses generate $1.7 billion of revenue annually through their 290 locations, serving 37 million people a year.

Those stores also employ about 4,100 people and donate $26 million to more than 2,750 charities annually.

The Guild typically meets twice a year with additional organized trips.