Construction Watch

30,000 Square-Foot Liquor Store to Open in Town of Eight Residents

Lakeside, Colorado, located on the shores of scenic Lake Rhoda, boasts a Walmart, an amusement park that's over 100 years old, and a total population of eight people, including Rhoda Krasner, for whom the lake is named. Lakeside is also about to become home to Molly's Spirits, a high-tech beer, wine and liquor superstore set to open later this month.

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Molly's co-owner Rufus Nagel and general manager Kristen Michaud agree that working with the Lakeside residents has been a pleasure and say they'd like to see the entire town show up for the liquor store's ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 21.

Of course, Molly's is hoping to draw customers across the metro area as well. "We're a way-stop on an expedition," explains Nagel, "a destination liquor store." To handle a large volume of customers while giving personalized service, Molly's is taking advantage of the latest in retail sales technology: Over a dozen 65" and 30" flat-screens will be mounted throughout the store, displaying live feeds of tastings and demonstrations in progress, video of participating breweries and wineries, and up-to-the-minute store specials.

Employees with tablet devices will be available for information as well as check-out, so customers can pay without having to go through a conventional check-out counter. A wireless LCD tag system will keep prices on every item up-to-date and save on printing of traditional paper price labels. The store was also designed to be energy-efficient, with insulated slabs beneath the refrigerated areas, LED lighting throughout the store, and state-of-the-art skylights that can provide additional natural sunlight from above without losing heat through standard glass windows.

Hand-crafted touches keep the massive space from seeming too sterile, including a C-shaped tasting station designed to mimic the Colorado flag, reclaimed champagne riddling racks to display special bottles, recycled lumber siding and antler chandeliers, and a central lounge area with couches where customers can relax or meet guest presenters from beer, wine and spirits manufacturers. Beer will be one of the big focuses, with an expansive walk-in bomber room and 60 doors of cooler space.

All the technology won't take the place of human interaction, Michaud promises, so her staff will be well-versed in educating customers as well as helping them find selections. The name Molly "represents a forward-thinking, independent woman," Nagel explains, so the space has been designed to appeal to a wide range of customers, including women, who are often forgotten customers at liquor stores.

Considering the independent spirit of the founders of Lakeside, who built the town and the Lakeside Amusement Park just beyond the reach of Denver liquor laws, it's a philosophy that makes sense for the tiny town.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation