The first of Corbin’s three planned liquor stores could open as early as this Friday, owners said Monday – more than a month earlier than the deadline set by the state Alcohol Beverage Control Office.
Jack Taylor, owner of Liquor Mart, said Monday that work is proceeding at a efficient pace on his Corbin store which will be located in the old Dairy Queen building near Trademart Shopping Center.
"We’ve worked really hard to get open by Oct. 1 and I think we are going to meet that deadline," Taylor said. "I think there’s a need here for it and just to be open. We’ve been issued the license and I just felt like we need to be open as soon as possible."
On Monday, workers were completing a 1,200-foot addition to the store that gives it considerably more retail space – about 4,000 square-feet total. Taylor said he has invested more than $100,000 in renovation to the building that includes new awnings, new flooring, lighting, installation of a refrigerated "beer cave," parking lot work and other cosmetic improvements.
Including inventory, computer systems, shelving, lighting and other things, Taylor said he expects the store will be a roughly $1 million investment.
"We plan to have a great selection. We will have all the specialty and imported beers and all the fine single barrel bourbons, and a really nice selection of wines also," Taylor said. "Opening a store like this is a huge investment. Hopefully, it will pay off in the long run."
Taylor and his brother, Paul, own a total of six Liquor Mart stores in Kentucky: two in Richmond, and one each in Danville, Lancaster, Manchester and Corbin.
The two are natives of Corbin and graduates of Corbin High School. Taylor said when news broke that Corbin voters had decided to allow packaged liquor sales in the city, he began work immediately on securing a location in his hometown.
"We just love our hometown and were just hoping we could come back here one day and open a business here. I’m glad that’s finally happening," Taylor said. "I think by us having six stores, we have a lot of buying power and we will be able to keep prices low here for everybody in Corbin. We will have good prices."
Taylor said he chose Liquor Mart’s Corbin location based on traffic patterns along Cumberland Gap Parkway and the ease of accessibility it provides from surrounding communities. He said the store hopes to pull customers not only from Corbin but London, Barbourville, Pineville and even Middlesboro.
Two other liquor store licensees plan to be open in the near future as well.
Liquor King, owned by local businessman Bill Smith, will be located on Cumberland Falls Hwy. in the old Marine-Myers building. Smith said Tuesday the store is on track to open the first week of November. It will be, by far, the largest of Corbin’s three liquor stores at roughly 10,000 feet.
Ernie’s Fine Wine and Spirits is a 5,000 square-foot store planned for south Corbin near Applebee’s. Ernie’s owner Kevin Durham told the News Journal last week he plans to break ground on the store in the next few weeks and has received an extension from state alcohol regulators to open in early 2013.