KAMAS -- Steve Tanner, co-owner of the Kamas Foodtown grocery store, likes to joke that over the years, he has heard two questions from customers more than any others.

"Where's the restroom and where's the liquor store?" Tanner said, laughing.

Tanner now has a new answer for one of those questions, as Foodmart's wine and liquor outlet opened Tuesday, located in the same strip mall as Foodtown, at 145 W. 200 S.

Kamas had been without a liquor supplier for more than two months. The previous outlet, at 83 S. 200 E., closed in May. Knowing that a demand exists in town for a liquor store, Tanner and Foodtown stepped in.

"We had space available in the strip mall that we own, so we thought it would be a good service for our customers," Tanner said, adding that Kamas' location in the middle of several camping destinations makes it a popular spot to buy alcohol.

Tanner said the outlet will sell alcohol at the same price it buys it for, meaning Foodtown will not make a profit on the liquor sales, although the state provides a managing fee that allows the outlet to operate. The main financial benefit to Foodtown is keeping customers buying locally.

"Keeping people home is our ultimate goal," Tanner said. "If they stay home, they'll buy more groceries here. If they have to drive to Park City or Heber, then more likely they'll shop somewhere else on the way.


Advertisement

"

As of Wednesday, the store had already seen a steady stream of customers, as word-of-mouth advertising brought in those thirsty for a drink.

Shelly Gines, manager of the liquor outlet, said customers have been pleased to once again be able to buy liquor in the area and have spread the news on Facebook.

"They're kind of doing the happy dance," Gines said. "A lot of people thought that once the other liquor store closed, there wouldn't be another one."

The shelves of the store were about half stocked as of Wednesday, but Tanner plans to fill the shelves within a few weeks, as customer demand is determined. He said the outlet is five or six times bigger than the previous liquor store, allowing it to stock a much wider variety.

Customers can leave requests for a certain brand of alcohol if the store doesn't yet have it, and the store will do its best to stock it.

"We plan to increase the variety pretty dramatically from what it was, just to try to keep people (in Kamas)," Tanner said.

One aspect that makes the liquor store unique is it will provide some grocery items, such as mixers, in addition to the alcohol. The goal is to make the store a true one-stop-shop.

"We want to make it where people want to shop and want to come in," Gines said. "We'll have chips and candy and ice. It's going to be a different kind of a liquor store here. When we tell people that, they're really pleased."

Tanner said the process of becoming approved to sell liquor by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was smooth. The DABC chose Foodtown to replace the previous store over a handful of other suitors in the area.

Additionally, Tanner has heard nothing but positive feedback on the outlet's opening.

"I think everybody understands that there's a need there, and that we have to accommodate that," Tanner said. "I think people trust us and know we've done a great job here."