Wadena to see new liquor store
Wadena will see a new player in the liquor market with the local Co-op association being the successful bidder in the government instigated privatization of stores.
The tender was put together, said Wadena Co-op’s General Manager Ray Bourgeois, “because we wanted to offer our members products and services that were needed in town. It will also allow the Co-op to expand and grow our product offerings to our members.”
The Co-op plans to open a liquor department in the Hardware Store on Main Street.
“We will monitor this situation and make changes if we see a need, down the road,” stated Bourgeois.
Some of the hardware lines will be relocated to the recently purchased Home Centre to give the 800 sq. ft. that will be required to carry the 800-950 lines of product. There will be some new products on offer including some new Co-op brands.
The running of the store will require extra staff and Bourgeois said, “We will be recruiting in the future for some experienced staff.”
Customers should be able to purchase liquor from the new Co-op liquor department sometime in the summer, although an exact date is yet to be determined.
This is probably one of the biggest changes in liquor retailing since 1965 when the first private liquor outlets appeared. The plan to sell off government-owned stores first arose amid controversy back in 2015, but no change was to be instigated till after the provincial election, which was held this past spring. The changes involve the privatization of 39 existing government-owned stores and permitting 11 more private liquor stores to open.
From the proposals submitted various co-operatives have been the biggest player taking over 14 franchises. The national grocery chain, Sobey’s, have taken over nine franchises while six have been taken on by former Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) employees affected by the changes.
Other wining franchise bids in the area included: Canora, which will be run by Gateway Co-operative; Foam Lake, by Eugene and Golda Parry of Foam Lake Husky; in Kelvington, by Cindy and Brian Sunderland of Bryson Drilling; Preeceville, by Garth Harris, an SLGA employee; Watson, Midway Co-operative, and Wynyard’s bid was won by Adam and Donna Pich, who have ties to the area.
By Andy Labdon