The story of Hickey’s Wine and Spirits begins in 1894 with a young man named Thomas A. Hickey. Thomas was in the 8th grade when his father died, forcing him to quit school and support his mother and two sisters. Like many young men his age, Thomas enlisted in the army after America declared war on Germany in 1917. Thomas was lucky to survive the war, as he held the dangerous position known as a “runner,” delivering messages on the front line.
After the war he secured a job at the U.S. Postal Office, where he worked for several years. Tired of working for others, Thomas opened his first store (a grocery store) on May 22, 1922, which was located at 33 Belmont Street in Worcester, MA. Thomas’ industrious work ethic, coupled with his honest nature, soon made him a well-respected business man in the community. By the early 1930s he had opened three additional stores in Worcester — on Main Street, Highland Street, and Lincoln Street.
During the height of the Great Depression when most new businesses were tenuous at best, Hickey’s proudly employed 32 full time employees and 8 part time employees. Ironically, during prohibition Thomas was a member of the temperance committee. However, after Prohibition ended Thomas made the insightful decision to expand his businesses to include liquor and wine. He was awarded the second liquor license in Worcester County, Massachusetts.
When WWII started, Thomas was forced to close two of his stores due to the shortage of men in the workforce. When the war ended in 1945 he reopened only one of his two closed stores. Both of Thomas’ sons, Paul and Thomas Jr., worked in his stores before serving in the military during World War II and the Korean War respectively. As time passed, larger grocery stores began to emerge, so by 1953 Thomas phased out perishables completely and shifted his focus to the liquor business.
In 1963 Thomas A. Hickey died leaving the business to his three children, Mary, Paul and Thomas Jr. Mary’s husband, William Dolan Sr., ran one of the stores. They worked hard building upon the family legacy, and together they purchased the Shrewsbury store location in 1965. The business flourished through the next decade. In 1978 Paul’s Brother, Thomas Jr., left the business. The Hickey family sold various properties to buy out Thomas Jr., leaving two properties remaining: Lincoln St. in Worcester and Maple Ave. in Shrewsbury.
When Paul Hickey passed away in 1994, the business went to his two sons, Kevin and Charles, along with their Uncle William Dolan, Jr. In 1994 they opened a third location in Milford, MA; a small retail space in Quarry Square Plaza. In 2005 Kevin and Charles Hickey bought out William Dolan Jr., selling Lincoln Street in the process. In 2007 the Milford Store relocated to a larger retail space in Quarry Square Plaza. Again, the Hickey’s Empire flourished, and in 2011 they relocated to their current location at 396 E. Main Street.