Today, in the culmination of a unique and unprecedented bidding war, the state will announce the winners of the online, public auctioning of its 167 state-run liquor stores. The auction kicked off March 8, inspired - of course - by the voter-approved initiative from last year that booted the state out of the booze-slinging business.
The state's auction of its liquor stores to private individuals, which concluded Friday, means booze, beer and wine may continue to be sold at formerly state-owned store locations as well ... those stores will just have new, private owners. According to a story from the Associated Press late last week, total individual bids for the state's liquor stores topped $7 million, with a flurry of activity coming Friday, the final day of the auction.
Auction winners started being notified over the weekend.
Washington State Liquor Control Board Spokesman Brian Smith explained the advantages auction winners will have by getting a jump on the June 1 transition to the AP:
"Our customers are used to going to those locations already, and not having a break in that business activity is a benefit to the potential buyer," Smith said. "Those people, knowing that they are the winners, can begin the process of getting their line of credit, working with the landlord on the space, begin the licensing process, so that they can have a license and be ready to sell on June 1."
That's all fine and dandy. And, sure, new liquor store owners could play it safe and continue with the same business models utilized by state-run liquor stores. But the situation creates a chance for creativity. Why not think outside the box? Why not revolutionize the way drunks buy booze? Why not be bold?
Here are some ways it could work ...
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Liquor Store and Tanning Saloon
Since the beginning of history weary travelers have searched for sunny beaches to catch a tan and down umbrella drinks on. In Washington, sadly, that's simply not possible. But it'd be pretty damn awesome in places like Kent and Auburn if area dental hygienists could buy their jugs of vodka at the same place they buy their tans. Talk about convenience!
Liquor Store and Medical Marijuana Dispensary
The brilliance of this idea speaks for itself.
Liquor Store and Therapist
Going to see your therapist helps. It makes you feel better. It clears your mind. It makes you less angry at your fucking good-for-nothing father. The same can be said for Black Velvet. It's only natural that therapy and booze would be offered in the same place.
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Liquor Store and Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Center
This is the very definition of killing two birds with one stone. Think of the time that could be saved!
Liquor Store and Church
God created booze. Look it up. It only makes sense then for you to be able to get your booze and your god in the same location.
Liquor Store and Starbucks
This must already be in the works. If it's not, capitalism is broken.
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Liquor Store and Daycare
You know how when you go to IKEA they have that kiddy pit where you can drop the little snot-smearers off while you peruse uncomfortable couches in peace? They've got it down to a science, and there's no reason an entrepreneurial new liquor store owner couldn't do something similar. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to drop little Sally and Johnny off in the ball pit before spending 15 minutes deciding what brand of schnapps you're going to be hungover on this week? [Note: Yes, we realize kids aren't technically allowed in liquor stores in Washington, but this is about being creative - put up some goddamn Plexiglas walls and stop living in the past!]