Liquor store opens up in new location

Bob Kennedy and Josh Edlun put the finishing touches on the shelves at the Idaho Liquor Store’s new Ponderay location. (Photo by CAMERON RASMUSSON)

PONDERAY — State liquor authorities hope to see better financial returns after moving a local liquor store.

The Idaho Liquor Store, formerly housed at Bonner Mall, completed its move Wednesday to a new location at 675 Kootenai Cutoff Road. Situated near Walmart and Home Depot, residents have quick and easy access to the store in a key business region.

“The people at Bonner Mall were great landlords, but this was the best thing to do for our customers,” said Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho State Liquor Division.

In addition to the convenient placement, the new location also allows for expanded hours. Because store operators no longer have to comply with the mall’s standard time restrictions, they’ll be able to add about 10 hours of operation per week. Anderson said the store’s hours of operation will likely mirror those of the Sandpoint liquor store, with projected times set for 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

State liquor authorities decided to make move after their lease with Bonner Mall expired. After deliberating the matter, they decided not to renew the lease and explore other opportunities.

That decision was prompted in part by the wishes of the Idaho State Legislature, according to Anderson. Before the economic crisis of 2008, legislators were concerned that the Idaho State Liquor Division wasn’t using its resources as efficiently as it could. The beginning of the recession underscored the need for a tight operation even further.

Johnson said that rather than going through the expense of opening new locations, the division would try to get as much service out of its current locations as possible. With the Ponderay liquor store’s new location set, Anderson hopes the expanded hours and potentially higher traffic will reflect that goal.

Although the liquor store employees  are still in the process of setting up the new location and installing the outdoor sign, all the shelves are stocked and attendants are ready to help out customers.   

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