Big Box, uh Bottle Store Hits Eureka

       This post would have been published Tuesday but technical problems intervened, so you’ve probably heard most of this already. As everyone not living in a cave knows, BevMo, the behemoth liquor successor to Beverages and More, is opening in Eureka this morning (Oct 18) at 9am, across from Eureka Natural Foods. Free BBQ lunch from 12-1.

       As a point of civic pride I hope there is NOT a long line waiting at 9am.

      The company was started in 1994, according to Wikipedia and has had a somewhat turbulent history of trademark disputes and false starts; they nearly went broke after over-ambitious expansions into Nevada and Florida before pulling back and concentrating on California, Arizona and Washington. The Eureka store will be their 149th and with each store employing an average of 17 workers, they have a workforce of over 2500 people, including Willard Wong, cellar master, who writes a wine blog on the company’s own website. They have a membership program and wine tastings.  This is a bigtime company entering a small market.  How will our small local stores be affected?

      One of their opening specials is Lagunitas IPA, sale price $12.99 for a 12-pack.  Murphy’s carries it right now for $14.99. This may be the pattern, prices low enough to catch your attention but not enough to make a special trip for. The government figures it costs you $.56 per mile to operate your car, so it may or may not pencil out in your case. They will have tastings and events to draw you in and this Wednesday’s Times-Standard has a coupon, $10 off your purchase of $50 or more. I don’t buy $50 worth of liquor in a year so I’m probably not the right person to write about this. l buy a bottle of Cherry Heering for about $30 once in a while and have only been able to find it at John’s Liquors on Myrtle. I’ll be curious to see if BevMo carries it. They probably do, and I’ll probably keep going to John’s.

      I don’t know for sure, but the arrival of BevMo may have impacted the future of the Henderson Center Marketplace that is/was planned for the old Robert’s site. Wine tasting was going to be featured there, also, but the site lays empty. Neighborhood gossip is that the partnership behind the HCM has unravelled and the proposed operator has left town. Realtor Mark Burtchett, whose name is first on the liquor license, did not return my call or my email, which is not a good sign. Mr. Burtchett, we’re all pulling for you. Henderson Center needs a bit of BevMo.