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State liquor store now in BG Kroger PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 17 March 2014 08:28
While shopping for groceries, Bowling Green consumers can now pick up a stronger bottle of alcohol at one location.
The Ohio state liquor agency in Bowling Green has a new home in the Kroger store at 1094 N. Main St.
Located in the front of the store in an area which has previously housed such variety as seasonal and clearance items, and at one point was a bank, the space is now exclusively the only "state store" in the city.
By law, only a limited amount of stores are granted liquor licenses which allows the sale of those products equal or greater to 43 proof (21.5 percent alcohol content). The franchise transfer for the hard stuff was made official on March 4 from BG Liquor Outlet in the Greenwood Center on East Wooster.
According to Jackie Siekmann, media relations manager with Kroger, the new outlet is for the convenience of its customers.
"We are always looking for convenience for our customers. They can get their prescriptions, groceries and gasoline all at one stop. Now they can pick up a bottle of alcohol for their entertainment at the same time," she said. "Any kind of convenience we can offer is a big bonus."
This is not the first Kroger store to feature more than the usual offering of beer, wine and lesser alcoholic spirits according to Mark Crosthwaite, the adult beverage category manager for the grocery giant.
He indicated that sometimes Kroger will seek out the license; while other times Kroger is sought out to be the permit holder.
Mario Kiezi, one of the managers of BG Liquor Outlet on East Wooster Street, which previously served as the BG State store, said their facility was looking to expand their craft beer and fine wine displays.
"We want to do more things and be more innovative with the business," Kiezi said.
Siekmann indicated the transfer is a very regulated and lengthy process.
Because that area of the city was not licensed for selling premium alcohol, voters had to approve the change last November.
"We built the space before we had the license," Siekmann said.
Once that initiative passed, the State of Ohio could begin the process of transferring the license.
Not just the license, but the stocked inventory from BG Liquor was also transferred.
Kiezi said despite what most people think, the franchise holder does not actually buy that specific license nor the inventory.
"It is the state's product and they just pay us a small commission," the former permit holder stated. "We don't control prices, we have no control over inventory. It's a lot of work for not a lot of money."
The Kroger officials said an inventory audit was done and all of the alcohol was driven to the new location.
"It was an overnight process," Siekmann said.
The store officials also say the move for them was an overnight success.
"The community seems to have liked the idea,' Croswaith said. "The store manager is getting very good feedback and sales were very good considering it's only been a week. We're adding another level of service."
Kiezi said, he and fellow manager Rocky Shaeena are both excited about their possibilities without the constrictions placed by the State of Ohio.
He described the state control of policies and procedures as operating "The business that is your business but not your business."
He explained that his store is always looking to expand their services to the customer as well.
They have added "Growlers" to their store, a system which provides fresh tap beer for home in sealed containers. They are also looking at perhaps offering wine tasting and beer tasting in a back-room area of the store.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 09:09
 

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