Because of Colorado's increasingly controversial liquor laws, only one outlet of any grocery chain -- Safeway, King Soopers, Target, Whole Foods and the like -- can sell full-strength beer, wine and alcohol. Target's spot is in the superstore in Glendale, but until recently, its single aisle of liquid refreshment hasn't been all that inspiring.
That may change by October, though, as the company revamps and "refreshes" several SuperTargets in the state and expands its liquor selection in Glendale -- but not, says a Target representative, to compete with King Soopers, which opened its own, and only, liquor outlet last fall just blocks away.
"We've actually seen no impact since King Soopers opened," says regional group director Mark Everett, who credits Target's liquor prices as the reason. "In fact, our sales went up for a while right after that." Once the renovation is complete, the space at Target devoted to booze will increase by 50 percent; the selection will also rise, but Everett wasn't sure by how much.
The news comes exactly one year after the Colorado Department of Revenue suspended the store's liquor license for one week after discovering that Target had repeatedly held wine tastings that violated several aspects of state law, and without the proper permit. That action prompted the city of Glendale to consider further sanctions against Target -- which angered Target's general manager, who got into it with several Glendale City Council members during a council meeting in 2010.
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But those problems are like pinot under the bridge now, according to Glendale Deputy City Manager Chuck Line. "Communication with Target is as good as ever," he says.
Although Target has no plans to resume in-store tastings, there's nothing to prevent them. "King Soopers has run dozens of tastings," Line notes. "I think I had six meetings with them on how to do it. In Colorado, the laws are fairly involved. If [Target] had asked us how to do it, we could have showed them the law."
But then, Target has its hands full focusing on liquor sales - and every other kind of sale. According to Everett, the Glendale store does more volume than any other store in Colorado and is the chain's third-highest grosser nationwide.