ABC store gets finishing touches

By Vicki Hyatt | Jul 01, 2013
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt ABC Board Chairman Earl Clark and Joy Rasmus, store manager, stand in front of the new facility being built on Dayco Drive near the entrance to Walmart and Belk.

Waynesville’s revenue from alcohol sales could rise as much as 15 percent once its new liquor store near Walmart opens.

Earl Clark, the chairman of the Waynesville Alcohol Beverage Control commission, said next year’s budget only counts on a 7 percent revenue increase from the 5,600 square-foot store with nearly double the floor space of the present location. Store Manager Joy Rasmus said the larger location will boost the number of available products by about a third as well, bringing the number of selections to about 1,300.

“Last year our sales were right at $2.2 million,” Rasmus said of the operation that currently has 984 separate alcohol, mixed drink and wine selections for customers.

Clark said other stores that built larger facilities reported that sales rose between 12 and 15 percent the first year. Since the move won’t happen until several months into the 2013-14 fiscal year, he said next year’s budget is on the conservative side.

The $1.25 million project, which includes $500,000 to purchase the land, is being financed over a 10-year period. However, Clark said the board is hoping to pay off the debt much sooner. While the debt is being repaid, distributions to the county and town will be suspended.

The state-controlled ABC stores receive no funding from the state or local governments and are separate entities overseen by a governing board appointed by the town council. In Waynesville, Clark serves with Jack Swanger and Ray Ezell.

The state, counties and towns share revenue generated through the sale of spirits, with a small percentage allocated to law enforcement, alcohol education and human services.

The prices charged for alcohol are set by the state. Bars and taverns can only purchase from state stores, Rasmus said, and they must pay retail price plus an extra charge.

“The price is the same from Murphy to Manteo,” she added.


Sparkling new

The new ABC store has rock columns similar to other town buildings recently constructed. The two-tone taupe and beige décor will be complemented by brand new shelving to accommodate the larger floor space. Current shelves will be used in the warehouse are for storage.

There are five employees on staff who keep the store open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but Rasmus said stronger sales might mean additional help will be needed.

A number of sites were considered before settling on the West Waynesville location, Clark said.

“We looked at sites with a building on it,” he explained, “but by the time you figured up remodeling costs, it didn’t make a lot of sense. When this location became available, we felt we could bring in more revenue.

The board, along with Rasmus, visited several neighboring stores before deciding on the floor plan. The design was planned with an eye toward something that would be a good fit with the mountain town, he added.

The new store, located at 52 Dayco Dr., should be ready for occupancy by September when the lease at the present location on Walnut Street expires.