Lonsdale Liquor approved for construction near Fred’s IGA Foods

Lori Nickel, Montgomery Messenger

The Lonsdale City Council held a special public work session on Thursday evening, June 22 at the Lonsdale American Legion Hall instead of their regular meeting which was held at City Hall on Monday, June 26.

The special meeting was to inform and hear feedback about the new Lonsdale Liquor store being proposed for construction on a site in front of the Fred’s IGA Foods.

City Administrator Joel Erickson began the meeting with a layout of statistics and potential income the new liquor store could bring the city of Lonsdale.

Erickson stated that the current Railway Liquor store and bar have experienced dwindling profits over the past three to four years. The decline in profits was due to very low profit margins from the bar. He stated that because of that, the city was prompted to order a feasibility study to explore the potential for profit if the liquor store were moved to a new location with a wider selection of products.

“Lack of selection and the problem with smoke (from smokers) are some of the reasons we aren’t earning more,” Erickson said. “With this new store we will be able to increase our selections tenfold.”

The study done by Dakota Worldwide looked at many area liquor stores and found that if Lonsdale were to build on the site near Fred’s IGA Foods, the city could expect a gross profit of $480,000 in 2007 which is $210,939 more than Railway Liquor is currently earning.

“The liquor store earnings have contributed to several city projects in the past,” Mayor Tim Rud explained, “including paving of city streets, the City Hall building and $25,000 toward the new playground equipment in Jaycee Park.”

Rud went on to state that funding for the new store would not come from tax payers.

“To construct the $1.2 million dollar project, we can borrow from our sewer fund and pay it back over time instead of going to outside sources,” Rud said.

The small audience in attendance asked several questions regarding costs and how projected profits for several years down the road were determined. Erickson responded, stating that he used a conservative formula based on numbers from the market study.

The council went on to reassure those attending that the city would be the only off-sale liquor store within city limits and would not allow any other off-sale licenses.

Architect Kathy Anderson from Architects Consortium, LLC and Todd Christopherson, P. E. from Amcon were present to show the proposed design for the liquor store and answer questions about the building process.

Anderson described how the site by Fred’s IGA Foods was well chosen. “National grocery stores do massive research on demographics and traffic flow, so if they build there, the area will be even better for the liquor store because people like to shop in stores close to one another.”

She showed how the building design will be similar to the Fred’s IGA Foods but in warmer colors and the clock tower feature that will, “beautify the corner, welcome people coming into Lonsdale and set a village tone.” She added that subtle Czech-style details were also incorporated into the design.

Features of the proposed store include a corner with a bar for wine tastings, a cutting edge security system with cameras and alarms, large selections of various liquors, wines and beer, and a large beer cooler.

General Contractor Christopherson announced the work on the building would be done through sealed bids and he encouraged local contractors to apply.

The 6500 to 7000 square feet building will take approximately 90 days to complete and Anderson stated that they hope to be open in time for the holiday season.

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