City says no to liquor store study
A plan to conduct a $6,000 to $6,500 market study on a future location for the city liquor store has been rejected by the Perham City Council. The study had been suggested as an added dose of information to help the liquor store task force analyz...
A plan to conduct a $6,000 to $6,500 market study on a future location for the city liquor store has been rejected by the Perham City Council.
The study had been suggested as an added dose of information to help the liquor store task force analyze location, feasibility, potential growth, traffic patterns and other factors.
But some councilmembers and city officials believed that the study would be an uneccessary added cost, and another delay to a decision that should be made soon.
By unanimous vote, the council voted to forego the study. In the same motion, made by Councilman Kevin Keil, the council accelerated discussion of the liquor store into the fast lane--asking for recommendations from the liquor store task force in time for the Oct. 25 city committee meeting. The full council will likely address the matter at the Nov. 13 regular meeting.
Expansion of the city liquor store has been a closely-scrutinized issue for nearly a year. In general, the city is considering a move of the store, and doubling its size to improve merchandising and sales.
A dozen or more locations have been reviewed, and the list was narrowed to about four options. Central to the discussion is whether the store should stay downtown or move to a location near the highway. Downtown advocates and merchants have encouraged the market study as a tool for additional fact-finding. They are concerned that moving the store to the rapidly developing commercial site near the highway will create another vacancy downtown, and will further reduce traffic in the core downtown business district.
A market study could also provide general information that will be an asset to the city's Economic Development Authority and for other planning uses, said Councilmember Anita Mycke.
"One of the benefits....of the study is that the city can share findings with other retailers that are considering expansion or relocating within the city," wrote Bob Louiseau, city manager, adding that it would provide "good information of the trade area, growth potential and other general items."
However, Louiseau also cautioned against conducting a study only to satisfy a small group that doesn't want the store relocated from downtown.
Key to an objective review of liquor store locations is traffic--not only traffic coming past the door, but traffic inside the door. Also, demographics must be considered as far as future customer base, and demand for varied inventory such as "designer" beer and wine.
When the city undertook a $5 million expansion of its natural gas business, noted Councilman Jerome Boedigheimer, there was no market study conducted. He questioned why a study is needed for the liquor store--a considerably smaller undertaking.
" This (a study) is a waste of taxpayers' money...We know what we need to do, and I don't think we need a study costing $6,000 to $7,000," said Boedigheimer.
Mayor Vince Pankonin said he initially supported the idea of a market study. However, he now believes that the council has adequate information to make a good decision.