LIQUOR BUSI­NESS IS BOOM­ING FOR CO- OP

Wine, spir­its and beer di­vi­sion opens store No. 25 in down­town’s west end

Calgary Herald - - FP CALGARY - DAVID PARKER David Parker ap­pears Tues­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day. Read his col­umns on­line at cal­gar­ay­her­ald. com/ busi­ness. He can be reached at 403- 830- 4622 or via email at info@ david­parker. ca.

When Don McCon­key took over as man­ag­ing direc­tor of the Cal­gary Co- op’s wine, spir­its and beer di­vi­sion, it had three lo­ca­tions. Last week, he opened store No. 25 in down­town’s west end, and sev­eral more changes are com­ing.

McCon­key joined the co­op­er­a­tive sys­tem 26 years ago as a ware­house worker for Fed­er­ated Co- op be­fore mov­ing into the Cal­gary of­fice in re­tail sales man­age­ment. He was later asked to fo­cus on the liquor busi­ness, which has grown to be a ma­jor fac­tor in Co- op’s suc­cess­ful sales op­er­a­tions.

Co- op liquor stores are found through­out Cal­gary with other lo­ca­tions in Strath­more, Air­drie, Oko­toks and High River. The flag­ship store has been the Mid­town Mar­ket lo­ca­tion.

Some of that store’s busi­ness will likely move to the new out­let on the north­west cor­ner of 4th Av­enue and 10th Street S. W.

Co- op took over the for­mer Maria’s Fine Wine & Spir­its, con­vert­ing it and the ad­join­ing con­ve­nience store into a 4,000- square- foot out­let — de­signed in a familiar Tus­can theme — that now of­fers twice the choice of beers, more wines and a bet­ter se­lec­tion of whiskeys.

This week, mar­ket­ing of the Me­wata store to the area that’s densely pop­u­lated with con­dos be­gins in earnest, with spe­cial deals and pro­mo­tion of the Coops ‘ price match’ pro­gram that of­fers prod­ucts at the same price as any com­peti­tor’s ad­ver­tised of­fer­ings.

Mid­town is only a 6,500- square- foot shop, and sales there have far out­grown the space. Park­ing has been a prob­lem for cus­tomers and there has al­ways been dif­fi­culty find­ing room fro de­liv­er­ies, so McCon­key will close that lo­ca­tion in Oc­to­ber. It will move to a spot across from the gro­cery store on the south­west cor­ner of 11th Street at 10th Av­enue.

That new lo­ca­tion will of­fer 9,000 square feet of re­tail space, mak­ing it the largest liquor store in the down­town. The beer room will dou­ble in size. They’ll add 900 more wine la­bels and the Co- op’s popular pri­vate wine lock­ers. The new store will open in Oc­to­ber.

In Strath­more, the Co- op is re­lo­cat­ing its gro­cery store, build­ing a new 5,000- square-foot-liquor store on the east side of the town and adding a new gas bar.

The South Trail Cross­ing Co- op gro­cery store in Cal­gary will close at the end of next month, though the liquor store and gas bar will re­main open.

In late 2016 in Auburn Bay, just south of Stoney Trail on 52nd Street S. E., a new 4,800- square-foot liquor store, gro­cery store and gas bar is to open.

A de­ci­sion has been made by the Cal­gary Co- op to aban­don its at­tempted en­try into the Ed­mon­ton mar­ket. Its Mac­Tag­gart Ridge Co- op Wine Spirit Beer lo­ca­tion has been sold.

Mean­while, Remo Mar­cucci is re­tir­ing next month af­ter 20 years of ser­vice. He’s well- known within the in­dus­try as the Co- op’s wine buyer. His po­si­tion will be filled by som­me­lier Lana Turner, who has been re­spon­si­ble for buy­ing spir­its.

NEWS AND NOTES

Around 8 a. m. Tues­day, Pro­fes­sional Ex­ca­va­tors will con­tinue dig­ging the deep­est hole in Cal­gary’s his­tory, thanks to his­tor­i­cal tech­nol­ogy.

Ap­par­ently mod­ern ma­chin­ery isn’t ca­pa­ble of ex­ca­vat­ing to the depth of 28.8 me­tres that’s re­quired to begin con­struc­tion of the 58- storey Telus Sky tower.

You can watch a “clam digger” at work. It has been brought in from Man­i­toba and is be­ing used in the Cal­gary area for the first time.

Sit­u­ated on the prime down­town cor­ner of 7th Av­enue and Cen­tre Street, re­plac­ing the now- de­mol­ished Art Cen­tral build­ing, the new tower will of­fer an at­trac­tive mixed- use of of­fice, re­tail and res­i­den­tial space.

You know, Pro­fes­sional Ex­ca­va­tors has dug up a lot of dirt on this street. It was the con­trac­tor cho­sen to ex­ca­vate the mon­strous hole for the foun­da­tion of The Bow tower.

I’ve no­ticed a few work­ers on Cal­gary’s an­swer to the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge on Sha­ganappi Tail, which might in­di­cate it will soon be open to those wish­ing to cross the road from Canadian Tire to Best Buy.

It will in­ter­est­ing to see how many peo­ple use it. The length and height of the wind­ing ramp means some se­niors might need oxy­gen in­take be­fore they can com­plete their jour­ney.

FOR THE CALAGARY HER­ALD

Un­der Don McCon­key’s di­rec­tion, Cal­gary Co- op’s wine, spir­its and beer di­vi­sion has grown from just three stores to 25.

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