New Worthington Liquor Store opens Tuesday
WORTHINGTON — The new Worthington Liquor Store, located along Ryan’s Road, will open its doors to customers at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Its Diagonal Road location will close at 10 p.m. Saturday to prepare for the move. Both stores will be closed Sunday and Monday as everything is transferred to the new store.
The city renovated the former Dollar General building using profits accumulated from its existing liquor store. With a new, more conspicuous location and improved shopping experience, city officials expect the new location to make even more money, which is meant to supplement the budget and lessen the tax burden on property owners.
The store provides significantly more space and visibility for shoppers, who are invited to bring a shopping cart along while they check out the inventory. It has wider aisles, lower shelving and a new “beer cave” walk-in cooler.
The city was inspired by Marshall’s municipal liquor store Tall Grass Liquor — opened in November 2015 — which increased its sales by 15 percent in its first year. The city consulted Greg Schoer of TSP in Sioux Falls, S.D., the architect behind the Marshall store.
Schoer was tasked with “turning a dollar store into a million bucks.” He chose massive windows that will display to potential shoppers a sample of the products offered, alongside grey brick and “warm and inviting” knotty-cedar wood siding.
“I wanted to create a facade that as people drive by, they can easily see from their vehicle and that welcomes them to stop in,” Schoer said. “It kind of brings back that old downtown traditional storefront where you display the product.”
The city put a heavy emphasis on the exterior look, which is meant to match up with its neighbors while also conforming to high-quality design guidelines the city is planning to implement in the future.
“It’s gratifying that the (Worthington City Council) had the initiative to go into that added expenditure to have a building that complements the neighborhood out there,” Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson said. “I think we certainly are keeping with our standard of what we want commercial buildings to look like.”
Everything inside the former variety store was thrown out for complete renovations. The interior, designed in part by TSP’s Brenna Wiertzema, is meant to have a “modern industrial vibe.” Most of the store’s inventory will be on display — the city aimed to make the retail space as large as possible while minimizing storage space. The store creates an intentional flow of traffic, where customers enter on one side and exit on another.
“I think it will feel nice and spacious while you’re shopping,” Schoer said. “You can stand around and look at products and not worry about trying to get out of the way of the next customer.”
Between the purchase of the building and renovations, the city spent approximately $2.5 million on the new liquor store. Council members were frustrated with the cost of the renovations — which came in over engineer’s estimates — but ultimately approved $1.53 million in bids from Salonek Construction and Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration for renovations, using money from the then-$1.7 million liquor store fund.
The outgoing liquor store building is expected to be used by Worthington Public Utilities for storage. The new store will have the same hours of operation and offer a similar selection.