Liquor Store was SOLD on November 1, 2014.
If you follow my blog you may have read that I purchased a liquor store last year. One of the lessons I’ve learned since is that a small liquor store is a great business for an owner-operator but not really designed for a passive absentee owner. Since I’m pretty busy with my own career, I’m now looking for that lucky owner-operator to take the reins. I’m hoping to find someone who not only wants to run a liquor store but also wants to buy a share of the Mesa Junction neighborhood.
This is also a real estate investment opportunity. The building housing the liquor store is located right in the heart of the Mesa Junction neighborhood at 105 Colorado Avenue, Pueblo, CO 81004. If you’re not familiar with Pueblo, the location is one of the busiest intersections in the city, where Abriendo meets Union Avenue. The main branch of the library is right across Abriendo. Toni & Joes, a popular pizzeria and bar, is right across Colorado Avenue. Taffy’s, the best place in town for ice cream, popcorn and homemade candy of all kinds is right around the corner. The Pantry Restaurant, a classic diner that’s been around forever, is just around the corner. Schuster’s Bakery, Broadway Tavern, the list of long-standing businesses within a few blocks goes on and on. This is a commercial hub with staying power. The location has been designated as part of Pueblo’s “Creative Corridor” and also part of the Business Improvement District coordinated by the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority.
The building is a historic 2-story brick structure built in 1912. The main level is dedicated to the liquor store and the upper level has 4 one-bedroom, one-bath apartments and a small office/storage room. The apartments are currently rented for $450 per month. The upstairs would certainly accommodate a family who wants to live directly above their own business. Stretch out and make the entire 2nd floor your home or live in 1 unit and rent the other 3. No commute in a cool urban setting where you can walk to just about everything. The apartments have been updated and are in good condition. Total building size is 5,244 square feet.
The liquor store has been in business since the 1960s or earlier. During the process of acquiring the liquor license I was told the license being transferred to me was the oldest active retail liquor license in the State of Colorado. The previous owner spent about 40 years in the business, both working as part of the family operation and then owning/running the store herself. It provided a comfortable living for her family for all that time and it could do the same for you, if you’re willing to put in the work. The store sells beer, wine and liquor, of course, along with tobacco products and soft drink/mixers. You’ll sell loads of cheap beer, vodka and whiskey; and, increasingly, you’ll sell a variety of craft beer, craft spirits and good wine to the growing population of younger residents who are beginning the process of gentrification in the neighborhood. The store is open 7 days a week, 364 days per year (Colorado law prohibits liquor sales on Christmas Day). We open the doors every day at 10am and close at 10pm every night except Sunday when we close at 6pm (sometimes we stay open a bit later to accommodate football fans looking for halftime refills). After purchasing the business in June we remodeled the entire interior. New carpet, fresh paint, new counter tops, completely redecorated. We also installed new glass front windows (high quality shatterproof glass) and took down the exterior iron bars to create a more inviting storefront. Additional modernization efforts include the implementation of a complete POS system, allowing cashiers to scan items for pricing and enabling computerized management of inventory, sales tax, accounting, etc. It’s an easy to use Mac-based system and we will provide training to the new owners. Our biggest investment has involved stocking the store with an assortment of products that will attract customers. We have a great beer selection. We offer all the standard liquor varieties plus a nice selection of craft spirits with an emphasis on Colorado-based distillers. And, we stock a terrific assortment of wines at various price points. You could spend a fortune on inventory if you’re not careful and the store has plenty of cold storage and shelf space in the back if you’re flush with cash and wanting to load up on volume. As an aside, liquor is a good hedge against inflation and makes a lot more sense than gold or silver if you’re someone who believes the US Dollar will collapse under the weight of federal government debt (at least it makes more sense to me – if the economy goes to hell I’d rather barter for a bottle of whiskey to ease the pain than carry around heavy shiny objects) .
Speaking of management and training, I have the best liquor store manager an absentee owner could hope for. She is a former high-school classmate so we’ve known each other for many years. I won’t reveal her name or link to something about her since she would prefer to avoid the attention. She’s extraordinarily capable, highly intelligent and very knowledgeable about the beverage industry. If I’m being honest, she deserves all the credit for improvements we’ve made to the store. As an owner-operator you won’t be able to afford to retain her as your manager. But don’t worry about her job. Unless she’s sick of working with me or finds greener pastures elsewhere, I hope to keep her gainfully employed and, with her help, pursue another business venture in Pueblo. I have a few ideas I’m kicking around. We also have a few excellent part-time associates. I’m hopeful there may be room for one or more of them on your staff. If not, they will have a strong reference and, depending on the next business venture, a first-in-line position when I’m ready to hire the next team.
Asking price, including the retail liquor business and real estate, is $395,000. Inventory will be provided per buyer specifications and priced separately. I may be willing to provide private financing with a substantial down payment. If you are willing to work long hours, continue renting all apartment units and run the liquor store efficiently you should be able to pay yourself $60-80k per year. If you’re innovative and good at marketing, maybe more. Either way, that’s decent money in Pueblo because the cost of living is very low. Plus, if you live simply in one of the upstairs apartments you’ll save a huge chunk of your take home pay. I can provide a complete set of financial records to any qualified buyer. I work with a reputable local CPA firm who can verify numbers.
I initially considered selling just the business and retaining ownership of the building with a long term lease in place. I don’t think this would be the best option, for me or for the buyer, because it’s best to have one person or business entity calling the shots. That said, I would consider it if the circumstances were compelling.
So, if you’re looking for a fresh start in life, here’s the complete package. If you’d like to learn more, please fill out the form below and submit. I will get back to you right away.