New liquor store has local businesses concerned

Posted at: 02/05/2013 10:07 PM
Updated at: 02/06/2013 8:23 AM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Total Wine & More is promising a unique experience that’ll translate into millions of dollars in revenue for the state, but it may not bring good news for locally owned liquor stores.

Quick service is the key at Kelly’s 16 liquor store locations in and around Albuquerque. "They can come in really quickly and get what they need," said Min Lee, president of Kelly’s Liquor. But Kelly’s convenience will soon have to contend with a huge competitor right down the road.

Total Wine & More will open in the old Borders location near Cottonwood Mall in two weeks. A second store on Uptown Boulevard will open in early summer.

Min Lee’s parents opened the first Kelly’s store 15 years ago. Lee says he’s apprehensive about his new neighbor. "They've done a number on a lot of these smaller businesses in other states," he said about the big box chain.

"The revenues per store are several million dollars," said Ed Cooper, Vice President of Public Relations at Total Wine & More. Based out of Maryland, Total Wine & More said Albuquerque has never seen anything like their stores. At almost 2,100 square feet, it’ll feature 8,000 varieties of wine, 3,000 distilled spirits and 2,500 beer brands. It’ll even offer cooking classes.

The company said its economic impact will be felt with the 40 job positions created and with the New Mexican products sold inside. "We're going to have an excess of 100 local New Mexico beers, wines and distilled spirits," said Cooper.

Total Wine & More said it competes and wins against places like Costco. Imagine what it could do to locally owned shops like Quarters and Kelly’s, where they hope 15 years in business will help them survive. "We support the community and all of our money goes back to New Mexico," said Lee.

A ribbon cutting will be held on January 20. The company also said it will be making a big monetary contribution to the Roadrunner Foodbank.