GRAEME BRUCE/BRANDON SUN
The Sobeys on Victoria Avenue in the city’s west end will be the location of a Liquor Mart Express, part of the MLCC’s pilot project to bring small liquor stores into grocery stores. The Express store is scheduled to open in early spring.
The province’s second Liquor Mart Express located in a grocery store will be in Brandon, inside the west-end Sobeys, the Sun has confirmed.
The 1,000-square-foot "store-within-a-store" is slated to open in early spring, according to Manitoba Liquor Control Commission spokeswoman Susan Harrison.
"I can confirm we have our second Liquor Mart Express located ... at the Sobeys at 3409 Victoria Avenue in Brandon, and that is going to open in early spring," Harrison told the Sun on Wednesday.
Liquor Mart Express is part of a pilot project by the MLCC, which will include up to 10 concept stores in the province — five of them likely in grocery stores.
The first Express store within a grocery store was opened in December in the Pembina Village Safeway in Winnipeg.
The Brandon store — located adjacent to the main entrance of Sobeys — will carry 500 beer, wine, and spirit products, which is bigger than the first 775-square-foot Winnipeg location, which carries 400 products.
"They’re meant to be more of a convenience store to provide shoppers with convenience," Harrison said. "(The Safeway location in Winnipeg) has proved to be really popular with shoppers, especially over the Christmas season, it was really convenient for them to get their groceries and then get their beverage alcohol products in the same place, so it’s been a really welcomed addition."
Liquor Mart Express stores move away from conventional standalone Liquor Marts. The Express store is self-contained, will be owned by the MLCC and will have its own hours of operation separate from the grocery store.
Harrison said it’s too early to tell what the store’s hours of operation will be, but the Winnipeg outlet is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
This will be the fourth Liquor Mart in Brandon, and will join locations at 10th Street and Victoria Avenue, Shoppers Mall and the Corral Centre.
Any new Express store has to be outside of a two-mile radius of any existing Liquor Mart.
The Express store will be obligated to adhere to the same regulations as standard store, including making sure staff are trained to serve responsibly, ask for ID and refuse sale to those intoxicated.
A formal announcement was slated for next week, prior to inquiries made by the Sun.
Steven Hodges, a spokesman for Sobeys, also confirmed the news, but could not confirm the exact location of the Express store within the building.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 17, 2013