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Liquor giant, wine specialist BevMo heading to Washington

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on March 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
March 22, 2012 3:47 pm

Big liquor retailer BevMo is heading to Washington in the wake of a voters’ decision last fall to end the state’s monopoly on liquor sales.

The California-based liquor retailer is among dozens of retailers ranging from supermarkets such as Safeway and Top Food & Drug to drug stores such as Bartell to discount stores such as Costco, Walmart and Target, that have made plans to sell liquor when the state allows it June 1.

BevMo’s first two stores are scheduled to open in Tacoma and Silverdale in mid-summer, said BevMo chief executive, Alan Johnson.

“We’ll open sooner if we can, but that’s our best estimate,” said Johnson.

Major wine and beer retailer Total Wine has also informally announced it too will join the hoard of alcohol retailers in the state this year. Total Wine has yet to pinpoint specific locations.

Both Total Wine and BevMo are new to the state. BevMo now has 110 stores in two states, California and Arizona. Total Wine, which sells just wine and beer, has 80 stores in 11 states mostly in the South and Southwest.

BevMo picked Washington for its expansion because of its higher-than-average disposable income and the opportunity that Initiative 1183 provided new retailers, the chief executive said.

The initiative for the first time opened up spirits sales to private retailers.

BevMo’s initial location at 2330 South 37th Street is opposite Costco near the Tacoma Mall. The company’s Silverdale store will occupy a former Magnolia Hi-Fi store near Kitsap Mall.

The company will sell liquor, wine, beer and specialty products ranging from cocktail glasses to snacks at the 12,000-square-foot store.

BevMo plans to hire about 20 workers to staff the store. Applications are available on its Website,

The company will eventually expand to cover most of the state, said Johnson.

“We’ve got it all mapped out. It’s just a matter of securing the deals,” he said.

John Gillie: 253-597-8663

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