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New municipal liquor store to open this summer in Worthington

Worthington's new municipal liquor store is shown under construction this week along Ryan's Road. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
Work continues Friday inside Worthington's new municipal liquor store. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — Having made significant progress on remodeling the former Dollar General building, the city expects to open its new liquor store in mid-July.

The new store and new location have three main purposes — attract more customers, provide more space for inventory and produce a better shopping experience. City officials believe improvements in those areas will lead to more profits.

Along Ryan’s Road, an electronic sign will invite shoppers to the store. Brand new, large windows that run across the front of the building will display items for all to see. The nearly-completed grey brick facade will be complemented by wood siding, while the sides of the building will be covered with aluminum panels.

The design of the exterior is meant to match up with its prominent neighbor — Avera Medical Group — while also conforming to design guidelines the city wants to implement.

Inside the former variety store, everything was taken out to create a clean slate. The entry will be divided for those entering and exiting the store, providing a flow for customers. Alcoholic beverages will be stored in large walk-in coolers, one of which customers can walk inside and grab cold cases of beer.

“It will be much more user-friendly,” said Todd Wietzema, the city’s public works director. “More space, wider aisles, lower shelving, more open and visible and user-friendly. It will have a nice flow-through to come in and out of the store.”

Large wood-crate panels, or “clouds,” will hang from the ceiling at light-height to complement the bare ceiling. The store will include a new office area, bathrooms and a larger receiving area that features a dock lift.

“One of our biggest challenges was a lack or receiving and storage area,” said Steve Robinson, city administrator, adding that the store will not have more inventory but will have more space for its existing inventory.

City employees were inspired by Marshall’s new municipal liquor store — opened in November 2015 — which saw a 15 percent increase in sales over its old store in its first year.

“We really like what Marshall did with their new liquor store, which had more of a shopper-friendly environment,” Robinson said. “You come in and you browse and shop, get a cart, rather than come in, grab a case of beer and leave.”

All in all, the city has spent around $2.5 million on the new project. City staff expect the better store and location will bring in more profits for the city’s liquor store fund — money that is used to supplement the budget.

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