As grocery stores secure their 1183-won liquor licenses, a wildcard in the future of retail hard spirits on Capitol Hill has been the state operated stores on Broadway and 12th Ave. With the auction of rights to the stores now complete, one of the Capitol Hill shops is likely to be part of the new privatized liquor economy of Washington while another state store location could soon be transitioning to a new line of business.
Hardial Gill spent $500,100 to secure the rights to the 12th and Pine store – the second highest bid in the state. He tells CHS he already had a lease worked out for the space before he placed a bid. is on track to open the first day the law allows — June 1.
“The store has been there for 20 years,” Gill said. “We’re going to bring in more wine, beer and some other good stuff to increase the variety.”
He expects that variety to be key to competing with the likes of QFC and Safeway. “They’re going to carry a third of what we have,” Gill said. He also said he plans to keep most of the 12th and Pine employees and their experience should also help make the store successful and earn him a small rebate from the state. Gill is on the hunt for a wine expert to join the squad, if you’re interested.
Gill, owner of the Bergman Luggage chain, said he has realistic expectations that revenues at the store and two more that he won the rights to in Bremerton and Silverdale won’t match past totals from the days of the state-controlled environment.
might have a more lucrative future beyond retail spirits. The winning $255,000 bid for that store came from a person named James Hasty. CHS has attempted to contact Hasty to find out more about this plans — and find out if he’s the same James Hasty as the NFL great and Bellevue business man — but we haven’t had our messages returned.
The Broadway property’s owner say it has fielded inquiries from “non-liquor store” tenants about the space. Tim Panos, of Panos Properties which owns the Broadway store location, said he’s asked Hasty for a business plan and is assessing the situation.
The $255,000 doesn’t guarantee Hasty a lease to run his liquor store. The winning bidders in the state auction only acquired the right to sell liquor at the existing store or at a nearby location within a one-mile radius.
A person familiar with Broadway real estate who has looked into the potential viability of an independent liquor shop in the area tells CHS he’s not convinced the store will be as lucrative as it has been in the past with QFC across the street and many local bars and restaurants transitioning to Costco, etc. provided booze. The Broadway store did more than $2.9 million in gross sales in fiscal year 2011, according to the state.
If both state stores continue dealing booze, Capitol Hill could be awash in liquor as the transitioning shops would join these six grocery and drug stores, this co-op, a Trader Joe’s and a few more chains noodling on it, as spirits retailers. Meanwhile, the state store at 23rd and Union could continue on, also. Even with 1183 size restrictions prohibiting stores smaller than 10,000 square feet from retailing liquor, that’s a lot of competition.
On 12th Ave, Gill said he and investors have been in the liquor industry before and his business plan will pencil out. He also said he’s a single malt guy. You can expect an excellent Scotch selection at his store starting in June.