People of Northwest Public Radio
Liqour Store Bids
Mon April 23, 2012
State Liquor Store Auction Rakes In Nearly $31 Million
This month's auction of state-run liquor stores in Washington raked in nearly $31 million. The state liquor control board revealed the winning bidders Monday.
Washington reaped a nice "windfall" for schools, social services, and general government by auctioning the rights to take over 167 state-run liquor stores. The online auction was the result of a ballot measure that passed last November. It directs the state to privatize liquor sales.
In Olympia, businessman Andy Thielen won the license for his local store with a bid of nearly $250,000. He says he's not worried about competing against Costco, Walmart and other big box stores, which will also stock liquor starting in June.
"Selection is going to be a big thing that we're going to have that the bigger stores are not going to have," Thielen says. "The employees we plan on retaining. All the employees here are very knowledgeable about the products. We're very excited about that."
About 900 state liquor store clerks stand to lose their jobs at the end of May unless they're kept on by new owners like Theilen.
On the Web:
Washington state liquor store auction:
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