Brandon will be the site of a Liquor Mart Express, it’s just a matter of where and when.
Susan Harrison, communications co-ordinator for the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, says the MLCC is close to finalizing plans as it’s in negotiations with one particular Brandon store.
“We will be opening a Liquor Mart Express in Brandon but we’re still in negotiations, so I’m unable to confirm its location at this time,” Harrison said.
“We’re definitely opening one in Brandon.”
Liquor Mart Express stores move away from conventional standalone Liquor Marts. The Express store is essentially a store within a store, complete with four walls.
“It’s really a convenience for customers,” Harrison said of the store within a store concept.
One Liquor Mart Express is already open in the Winnipeg International Airport, with another set to open in a Winnipeg Safeway in early December.
The 600-square-foot store in the Winnipeg airport, for example, is staffed by MLCC employees and carries 220 of the most popular wines, spirits and beers in the province.
The selection at any other Express store will vary depending on the space available and location, Harrison said.
But, given that they’re smaller than stand-alone Liquor Marts, the Express stores will have a smaller selection.
The Express store will be secured and its staff will be trained in “socially responsible service” which includes asking for ID and refusing sale to people who are already intoxicated.
The MLCC will own the store and be a tenant of the host business.
Express stores are being opened on a one-at-a-time basis as it’s a pilot project.
Where in Brandon the Express store will be housed is a matter of speculation at this point.
Any new Express store has to be outside of a two-mile radius of any existing Liquor Mart.
There are three Liquor Marts in Brandon — Shoppers Mall, Corral Centre and Victoria Avenue at 10th Street.
If it’s to be placed in a grocery store, that would seem to make the Sobeys store in the west end a prime candidate.
A message left earlier this week for the communications director for Sobeys’ Western Canada headquarters didn’t receive a response.
And, Harrison said, because of the ongoing negotiations, MLCC isn’t in a position to announce where Brandon’s Express store will go. There’s no timeline yet for any announcement.