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Seven Keys to Buying a Great Liquor Store

By Richard Parker: President of The Resource Center for Buying a Liquor Store™ and author of How To Buy A Good Liquor Store At A Great Price© .

Is the liquor store you are considering a diamond in the rough? Or is it a disaster waiting to happen? To make sure you are picking the right store, be sure to ask these questions.

“What are traffic patterns in the area?”

How do they support or work against the success of the retail business you are considering? And make it a point to drop by town hall to review recent activities of the town planning board or the equivalent arm of government. If the town is planning to tear out a bridge or install new curbs on the street where your new store is located, that could cause a big sag in your profits during your first months of ownership. Talk to other merchants in the area too, to see what they know about any municipal plans. Do your research so you won’t be broadsided!

“Are there good economic conditions in the community?”

Are businesses in the area opening or closing? Are the major employers in the area in good financial condition, or about to close their doors? What are the crime rates? Who are the biggest employers? Are new businesses opening that will improve the economic climate? Are many houses or commercial properties in the area for sale or, even worse, vacant and boarded up? You want to buy a retail enterprise in an area that is stable and growing, not one that is in decline.

“Will I be able to find and keep good employees?”

Any retail enterprise succeeds or fails because of its sales staff. Often, the most profit-generating salespeople are those who resemble your ideal customers. Or who, at the very least, can communicate with them well. If you are considering a liquor store whose ideal customers are upscale suburbanites, you want a sales staff made up of mature men and women, not high school kids who can do little more than stock the shelves. Will you be able to find salespeople who will fill the bill?

“Is the store visible?”

If people will drive to your store, will they be able to see it from the adjacent road? If not, can you help them find it by placing signs next to the road?

“What kind of curb appeal does the store have?”

It should have large windows, an uncluttered interior, cleanliness and bright lights. These factors are critical. Remember, a sizable percentage of your customers will see your business before deciding whether to come in to shop. And remember to avoid the “cluttered window syndrome” that we have all seen in many liquor stores. You know the approach – the owner likes to cover the display windows with signs that say, “Johnny Walker Red $17.99/Liter!” or, “Beaujolais Just In!”  Retail experts agree that customers are far more likely to shop in stores that look open, uncluttered and inviting.

“Will my customers have convenient parking and/or public transportation?”

Is your potential store located across the street from a suburban train station or a stop on a commuter bus line? (Good choices, both!) Will people park in your own parking lot, near your door? Or in a well-run municipal lot on the next block? If people will not drive to your store (perhaps it will be in a city location), will they be able to easily come to you on public transportation?  Don’t let these factors be afterthoughts.

“Are there bright, big, colorful signs?”

These might already be in place but if not, they can present a large, but crucial expense. If good signage is not already present in the retail business you are considering, is there a way to add it after you are the owner? And remember, you cannot simply erect a new sign. There are city codes and landlord restrictions that may prevent you from doing so.

Use these questions to help assure that you are buying a liquor store with the basic building blocks of success already in place. Then learn more by reading my new guide, How to Buy a Good Liquor Store at a Great Price©. It is the only guide that puts the keys to buying a great new liquor store into your hands! 

To learn more success secrets of top-performing liquor stores, be sure to order our guide, How to Buy a Good Liquor Store at a Great Price.


This article represents a fraction of what you’ll learn in How To Buy A Good Liquor Store At A Great Price© - the most widely used reference resource and strategy guide for anyone thinking about buying a liquor store. Read a detailed listing of what you'll learn.

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