LIQUOR BUSINESS IS BOOMING FOR CO- OP
Wine, spirits and beer division opens store No. 25 in downtown’s west end
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.
Under Don McConkey’s direction, Calgary Co- op’s wine, spirits and beer division has grown from just three stores to 25.