Get your alcohol here | ParkRecord.com

Get your alcohol here

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

State liquor officials have opened a new store on Swede Alley, almost doubling the amount of shelf space in the Main Street district, a place that draws large numbers of partying Parkites and visitors.

The Swede Alley store occupies the bottom floor of a new building City Hall put up next to the China Bridge garage. Park City is leasing the space to the state for the liquor store. KPCW’s studio is also in the new building.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control closed its store in the Main Street Mall as the new store opened. The state has needed a permanent location for a liquor store in the Main Street area since it left a building next to the Park City Museum to allow a museum expansion.

"This building is very open, makes a much more pleasant shopping experience," says John Freeman, who directs operations for the state liquor department.

The new store, 460 Swede Alley, covers about 2,500 square feet. The former store at 524 Main St., where the museum is expanding, was 1,380 square feet.

Freeman says the downtown Park City store usually performs well, with the average sale far outpacing the rest of the state. In 2007, he says, the typical sale in the Main Street store was $19. Sales in other stores averaged about $10, he says.

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State-run stores are the only stores in Utah where someone can legally purchase liquor, wine and full-strength beer. Store openings usually generate buzz in Park City, which has long had a reputation as an imbibing community in a state that generally frowns on drinking alcohol.

The DABC also recently opened a liquor store in Snow Creek as well.

Freeman calls the Swede Alley store "very, very important to us." It is situated a block from Main Street and just south from the Old Town transit center, the bus hub for Park City and the outlying Summit County.

Freeman says he expects the new store will sell high-end scotches, tequilas and vodkas, and it will stock nationally recognized wines from the U.S. and abroad. He says the store is more attractive to shoppers, who became accustomed to a flight of stairs and narrow aisles in the former Main Street space.

"This building is very open, makes a much more pleasant shopping experience," he says.

Hours are 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Freeman says the hours could expand if there is demand.

The liquor store is one of three on the West Side, with the Snow Creek store and one at Kimball Junction being the others. Freeman says the state has found property in Heber to open a new store, and he hopes to break ground on the Heber store in 2008.

When it was open, the Main Street liquor store was especially crowded on many days during the busy ski season, and buyers were frequently inside on other days throughout the year.

Freeman says he expects the new store will be crowded as well.

"For Sundance, for the ski season, for the high tourist times, people, they’ve demanded a store right downtown," he says.

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