Parksville is now home to Mid Island Co-op’s first traditional liquor store.
Mid Island Liquor, which opened nearly three weeks ago, is the company’s first foray into a standalone liquor store, said liquor operations manager Jared Brown.
“Now that this (location) is up and running, the next step is looking for additional liquor licences and locations to grow the brand,” Brown said.
Brown said Mid Island Co-op has another store that sells liquor in Sayward, but it’s a combination of a gas station, convenience store and liquor store.
Mid Island Liquor is located at 1401 Alberni Highway, adjacent to the Mid Island Co-op Parksville location gas bar and cardlock station. The liqour store is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The store, Brown said, has 2,700 different items “which gives us by far the most diverse selection of many of the stores in the area.”
Mid Island Liquor also houses a 1,000-sq.-ft., walk-in beer room that features many mid-Island brands, including Parksville’s Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company, and Nanaimo’s Wolf Brewing Company, Longwood Brewery and White Sails Brewing.
Brown said the choice of the location resulted in part from BC Liquor Distribution Branch rules for distances between liquor stores, combined with the fact that Mid Island Co-op already owned the property.
“Obviously, this being one of our largest gas bars, it made sense to put a liquor store as close as we can to a Co-op gas station, just for convenience for our members to create an all-in-one shopping experience,” Brown said.
Despite the liquor store being open for less than a month, Brown said, the community response has been “very, very positive.”
Brown said it’s a slow time of year, but he expects business “to be hopping” in the spring and summer months.
“This is going to be a fantastic spot,” Brown said. “It’s a fantastic spot now considering all we’ve done at this point is unlock our doors (to the public).”
He said the challenge right now is just breaking into the liquor retail industry.
“There is a large amount of liquor stores in the area; there are many options. It’s obviously a different business from the gas stations. You drive by a gas station, and you see what their price is in order to get the best deal… The obstacle here will be to actually get people into the store.”
Brown said there are plans to expand in the liquor store industry, but right now, he said, the focus is on growing the awareness of the brand.
“Now that we have a brand out there, it should be easier for us to grow at the rate we’re hoping to in the coming years.”