Wine shop renovation completed

New store offers 'more inviting experience' while privatization effort continues in Harrisburg

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— The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced this week that it has completed extensive renovations at the rebranded Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store at 106 West Harford St. in Milford.

It now "provides a warmer, more inviting retail experience for consumers," says the liquor board, amid ongoing plans in Harrisburg to privatize the state's liquor stores.

The focal point of the remodeled store is a center table equipped with counters to highlight new products and featured selections. It also will serve as a gathering place where consumers can learn about products and get recommendations. New shelving and decor were installed.

The store will carry more than 1,700 wines and more than 950 spirits in almost 4,600 square feet of space.

"In addition, Chairman’s Selection wines, which offer consumers select, highly rated wines at significant savings, will also be available," the board says.

Throughout the redesign and construction, the board says it was committed to developing an attractive and environmentally responsible store. Most of the lighting is LED or energy-efficient compact-fluorescent lighting that uses a fraction of the energy of traditional lighting. The store will also sell reusable shopping bags made from 60 percent recycled materials.

It will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Effort to privatize
Gov. Corbett's idea to privatize the sales of wine and hard liquor in a state with Prohibition-era restrictions stalled in the Legislature last fall. But with Republican majorities in both chambers and support among some of the state's most powerful politicians, liquor privatization could easily re-emerge.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai said privatization remains a popular idea with the public and with rank-and-file lawmakers. His office has produced a complicated "proposed compromise."

The idea goes back three decades in Harrisburg, though Republican Govs. Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge were unable to make it happen.

The state's system of 605 liquor stores employs about 4,500 people, most of them store employees, and supplements its workforce with hundreds of additional seasonal employees. Last year it did $1.7 billion in sales and pumped $512 million into the state's general fund.

Last March Corbett proposed expanding licenses to include groceries, convenience stores and other retailers, and directing the estimated $1 billion in proceeds for public education.

The House followed in March with passage of a bill to create 1,200 new private wine and liquor store licenses and let thousands of bars, restaurants and groceries sell wine. Existing beer distributors would get first crack at buying the new licenses and could decide if they wanted to sell wine, liquor or both. Additional licenses would also be sold. House Majority Whip Stan Saylor said last week that this plan, or some version of it, will probably be put before Corbett in May.

The proposal developed by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi would let beer distributors sell wine and liquor and other retail outlets sell wine, but the state would remain in the wholesale business of shipping wine and liquor. Rural areas would get some reassurances that stores would remain in their area.

The Liquor Control Board regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania and also operates the stores statewide. Taxes and store profits are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund. For more information about the Liquor Control Board, visit lcb.state.pa.us. To find additional store locations, visit finewineandgoodspirits.com.

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