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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Total Wine & More to construct store in Spokane Valley

Total Wine & More, the nation’s largest liquor retailer, intends to build its second area liquor store in Spokane Valley, the company announced Friday.

The 25,000-square-foot, $1.7 million retail center will open in time for the holidays.

Company officials chose the location to compete with other liquor retailers along the Washington-Idaho border.

Based in Maryland, Total Wine opened its north Spokane store last year after voters passed Initiative 1183, pulling the state out of the business of selling spirits. More than 1,400 retailers now sell liquor across the state.

After opening the 25,000-square-foot store in north Spokane, company owner David Trone said Total Wine regarded a location near the Spokane Valley Mall as a key in gaining more liquor sales.

Because the initiative imposes a 10 percent fee on spirits distributors, liquor prices in Washington are generally higher than in Idaho or Oregon.

That new fee has resulted in Washington consumers frequenting stores at border locations such as Post Falls and Stateline.

“The Spokane Valley Mall site is aimed directly at the Idaho traffic” from Washington customers, Trone said in an interview last December.

Total Wine has volume-order advantages and discount promotions with spirits producers that allow it to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart, Costco and low-margin grocery stores selling spirits in Washington, he said.

Trone also predicted the new Valley Total Wine will win over Idaho liquor customers, especially once the distribution tax imposed by I-1183 is scaled back and no longer passed along to customers.

That reduction, however, is not a done deal. Budget-cautious state legislators in Olympia are considering extending the 10 percent distribution fee beyond the first two years, said Chris Marr, a member of the Washington state Liquor Control Board.

Even so, Trone is confident Total Wine’s huge inventory and competitive pricing will keep the store competitive with or without the distribution tax reduction.

The north Spokane store’s shelves carry about 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers, according to Total Wine’s marketing department.

Rather than converting an existing building, Total Wine decided to build its own store in Spokane Valley. The new location, at 13802 E. Indiana Ave., is west of the Spokane Valley Mall, between Great Floors and Fred’s Appliance Design Center.

No opening date has been announced. Construction is expected to start within 30 days. Company officials say the store will hire 40 workers.