Liquor Woes And The Tough Times For Small Stores - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Liquor Woes And The Tough Times For Small Stores

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NBC Right Now is digging deeper into a recent report that shows 60% of all former state operated liquor stores are now out of business. Many of the stores that are still open are struggling. NBC Right Now is digging deeper into a recent report that shows 60% of all former state operated liquor stores are now out of business. Many of the stores that are still open are struggling.

NBCRightNow.com - NBC Right Now is digging deeper into a recent report that shows 60% of all former state operated liquor stores are now out of business. Many of the stores that are still open are struggling.

The state is now making over 100 million dollars in taxes a year, all coming from your pockets as you head to the cash register.  Look up your local liquor stores in the phone book and you will realize many of the numbers might be disconnected. Things have changed and storeowners tell us it is harder to stay in business.

"Most people anticipated perhaps a 50% reduction in the sales volume. It's actually ended up being about a 75% haircut," said Kuo-Ying Frenzel.

Before Initiative 1183 was passed the West Richland liquor store was a state contracted store. When all state control was completely privatized in June of 2012, new taxes were implemented. In most stores you might not even notice the increase in price until it's too late. Your item is scanned and what used to be a $23 bottle of vodka is now more like $38.

"I think a lot of the former state and contract stores could have survived if they were able to maintain their Class H restaurant accounts," said Frenzel.

Most liquor stores relied on accounts with chain restaurants or local bars. During the conversion, the small stores lost that money as the distributors snatched up that business. In West Richland it was about 35% of their business all mostly gone. Now they rely mostly on consumers.

"It is more convenient and probably easier for people to just pickup the bottle while they're picking up their carton of milk," said Frenzel.

Selling liquor in the grocery stores makes it easy for people to pick up a bottle at that one stop, but it is making things harder on their neighbors who specialize in liquor sales. In West Richland they say they are lucky because their customers are loyal and consciously shop local.

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