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Liquor Stores For Sale: Does Location Really Matter?


Buying A Liquor Store - Does Location Really Matter?

I was recently asked by someone that was considering buying a liquor store that is for sale if location really matters.

It made me think, does it?  Some experts believe that while it is still important, location, is not AS important in the liquor store business as it is with other retail businesses.

I think there is a case for both sides of the argument, but I feel as though location really does matter when you are considering a liquor store that is for sale and here's why.

Convenience

It's a fact that location is important for any retail business when it comes to convenience.  Customers are more likely to frequent businesses that are close to their homes or workplace.  If your store is on the route to either location, they may choose you over driving across town to another store.  So with the topic of convenience in mind, yes, I think location matters.  I wouldn't select a store that was in the middle of nowhere or in a place that was difficult to get to.

Inventory & Demographics

Inventory is obviously a key part of the liquor store business. Look at the demographic that surrounds the business.  A liquor store that is located near a University will probably be selling less high end wine and more kegs of beer.  The opposite will be true if you are located in an affluent suburb.  Since liquor stores are thought to be neighborhood businesses, it's important to think about what demographic you want to serve and what you want your inventory to look like.  When it comes to the type of inventory you want to offer, location definitely matters.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a liquor store located near a University will probably draw a lot of traffic but it could also cause some issues for your business.

Locations That Can Cause Problems

As I just mentioned, buying a liquor store for sale in an area by a University could lead to a good, profitable business based on the sheer volume you'd be selling however, it could also cause problems for you as the owner.  You have to deal with underage drinkers trying to purchase liquor from your store.  As the owner, you can monitor this while you are working but once you leave your liquor store in an employee's hands, you are leaving yourself open to a potential liability if they don't adhere to proper procedures.  Don't get me wrong, I know this could happen in the suburbs too but I think you would deal with this scenario more frequently in certain locations.  In the state of California, if you are found to have furnished alcohol to a minor there is a minimum fine of $1,000 and 24 hours of community service.

High crime areas could also be a problem.  In addition to underage drinkers, there is the potential for left, robberies and other types of infractions against the business.

Pricing

If you are planning to compete with other liquor retailers solely on price, than location definitely matters.  Whether you are the discount liquor store or the high end liquor store, you need to make sure the liquor store you are considering fits the location. A discount liquor store that has a minimal wine selection but is located in an affluent suburb may find that customers will sacrifice convenience and drive across town to get the wine they want causing them to lose business.  So again, location is important when it comes to pricing.

Summary

To sum it up, yes, in my opinion, location does matter when it comes to buying a liquor store for sale from either a broker or an owner.  The inventory you carry and the headaches you have will be driven by the location of the liquor store in many cases.  So, choose wisely and make sure the liquor store you are considering is located in a place that will allow you to run the type of business you want.

Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Buying A Business, How To Buy A Business

Contributor:

Peter Siegel, MBA
Areas Served: All Of California
Phone:  925-785-3118 Cell, 925-785-3118 Text
Founder Of BizBen.com (since 1994). I am the Lead Advisor for the ProSell, ProBuy, & ProIntermediary Programs. I consult daily with buyers, sellers, and brokers daily about buying and selling California small to mid-sized businesses. Call 925-785-3118.

Comments Regarding This Blog Post


Great points Peter. I owned liquor stores before I was a business broker, so I have always had an affinity for selling them. Where you own your store can often be indicative of the items you carry. When I owned a store in middle to lower class areas, I would sell more half pints of alcohol vs when I was in more affluent areas I would sell higher end wines and cheeses, etc. As an owner of a liquor store it's important to know your audience. If you own a store in an area where you are going to be selling a lot of wine then it's helpful to know which wines will serve well with certain types of food, because the customer may ask. Sadly many who work at supermarkets really don't know this type of information, so this is an opportunity for an owner to rise above the corporate competition.






  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Jim Saxton, Liquor License Broker & Consultant - SF Bay Area

20 years experience of local governmental requirements, such as Police Departments, Zoning / Planning Departments, and ABC District Offices, my company Liquor Licenses of SF Bay Area is very qualified to resolve all of your concerns during the liquor license transfer process. Call 925-787-0770.

Helen Yoo, New Century Escrow - Escrow Services In Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Rick Carlson, Business Broker - Southern California

You Will Never Feel Lost In The Shuffle. Many Brokers Simply Send Out An NDA And That's The End Of Communication. All Buyers Receive A Personal Meeting With An Ace Acquisition Specialist So They Can Recommend The Perfect Business For You. Phone Rick direct at 800-985-4939.

Harry Sidhu, CBB, Broker: SF Bay Area, Central Valley, SAC Region

Assisting both sellers and buyers of businesses - dealing mainly with Liquor Stores, Grocery Markets, Gas Stations, Smoke Shops, Restaurant Related, Retail Related, Service Related. Serving SF Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento area. Call Harry Sidhu, CBB for assistance at 510-366-6130.

Brad Steinberg, Business Broker: Laundromat Specialist

PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.

Chris Seaman, Business Broker: Southern California

Founded in 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has accelerated to become one of the most successful Business Sales Organizations in the world. Our team of agents have gone through extensive training to become experts in the field of business brokerage. Call Chris at 858-578-4111 for more info.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - San Francisco Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.

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Niche business purchase financing advisory and loan placement services with SBA and Non-SBA Financing, Retirement Fund Rollover Solutions, Combo Financing Packages. To get professionally pre-qualified or more information on the ProBuy/ProSell Programs: 925-785-3118.


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