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State auditor releases municipal liquor store data

WORTHINGTON — Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto released on Monday the 2012 analysis of municipal liquor store operations, a report providing comparative data on liquor operations owned and operated by Minnesota cities.

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In 2012, 207 Minnesota cities operated 239 municipal liquor stores, with 114 cities operating both on-sale and off-sale liquor establishments and 93 cities restricting their municipally owned establishments to off-sale liquor stores, according to a press release issued by the State Auditor’s Office.

For municipal liquor stores in southwest Minnesota cities, the gross profit showed a general increase from the 2011 audit to the one in 2012. Windom saw the largest growth in gross profit sales over the past year with a 14.75 percent increase. Windom City Administrator Steven Nasby attributes the increase to major construction projects that happened between 2011 and 2012.

“The city took on a $3.1 million large waste water treatment plant and we also had wind turbines going up outside the town, so those projects brought in a lot of people,” Nasby said. “Other businesses such as the hotels in Windom also noticed an increase.”

Nasby predicted that when the 2013 audit is released, there will be a similar increase.

“In 2013 we took on a $4.5 million street project and a $2 million project at our industrial park, as well as more projects within the industrial park,” Nasby explained. “So we have about $10 million worth of projects that went on in 2013, which will benefit the town’s businesses — that certainly includes the liquor store.”

Worthington’s municipal liquor store also saw an increase of 10.64 percent from 2011 to 2012. Dan Wykoff, who has been manager of the liquor store for four years, said people continuing to shop locally is a major reason for the continued success of the store.

“The local community continues to support us and what we do, and the numbers show that community members want to keep their money in the local area,” Wykoff said. “I think as far as what we’ve done here in the store, we try and keep our inventory full of new items and we keep up with the trends. I think we’ve become a destination place for people’s beverage needs.”

During 2012, Minnesota’s municipal liquor operations reported a 17th consecutive year of record sales that totaled $329.6 million. Total sales generated in 2012 increased by $12.4 million, or 3.9 percent, over 2011. Total municipal liquor sales ranged from $91,917 in Canton to $15.2 million in Lakeville, according to the state audit report.

“I think that this is possibly one of the signs that the economy is slowly improving,” Otto said. “Every store has their own story, and the ones I’ve read about continue to make improvements to their stores and make them successful.”

Among off-sale stores, there was a 27.6 percent increase in net profits, while on-sale stores showed an increase of 92.3 percent, according to the audit report.

Over the past five years, net profits have increased 33.7 percent.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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