Is the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store as profitable as it could be?

Last week’s Strib South section had a story titled Savage fights to restore liquor profits

Fighting back against a plunge in profits, Savage is preparing to shake up its municipal liquor operation — and market itself more aggressively… With Matthies retiring, the city is not interested in promoting from within. It is seeking an outsider with a canny eye toward promotional magic, in particular the use of social media to generate buzz.

Northfield Municipal Liquor StoreThe Northfield Municipal Liquor Store (the Muni) doesn’t have an active web presence where it promotes its products. It’s not yet using social media, though to be fair, I couldn’t find many Munis that were. The liquor operations managers for both Eden Prairie Liquor and Edina Liquor have blogs, Richfield Liquor has a Facebook page, and Farmington Liquor posts updates on the City’s Facebook page (example here).  Savage Liquor has a Facebook page and one of its two stores has a Twitter feed but they’re not using them very well. Compare those munis use of social media to Haskell’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.

But beyond the use of social media, the Strib article on Savage Liquor had this:

The city is also turning a cool eye on costs. Officials note for instance that Savage is the only city with just two stores to have a person with Matthies’ title and status. As he throttles back his involvement, a replacement will take a humbler role.

Saving nearly $60,000 in the short term, the city is expected to shift from a civil-service grade 14 "liquor operations director" and grade-10 "assistant liquor operations director" to a grade-11 "facility manager" and grade-8 "store manager." There have also been outright cuts in staff over the past two years.

I don’t know what the civil-service grades are for Northfield Muni’s Department Manager Stephen DeLong and staff but I’ll see what I can find out.

The Northfield City Council and the Ad Hoc Finance Study Group have been searching for additional sources of revenue for two years but I don’t think they’ve examined the Muni’s operations.

3 comments to Is the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store as profitable as it could be?

  • 1
    Griff Wigley says:

    Today’s Strib: A sobering era for municipal booze

    The forces that create winner and loser cities in the metro are complex, and they involve clashes with other “muni” cities as well as private operators.

    Farmington, for instance, is barely scraping by and asking a lot of serious questions about the future of municipal booze. Its residents’ commutes take them through two aggressive and successful municipal liquor cities, Lakeville and Apple Valley, in a business where convenience is crucial.

  • 2
    Griff Wigley says:

    Hey, maybe Northfield’s Muni could have a similar assessment done by the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association. Saturday’s Strib: Farmington says it needs to improve liquor store profits

    The city’s liquor operation was critiqued in a report delivered this month by the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association… The association report was based on several visits and interviews with the two liquor store managers and city officials by a team of four: liquor managers from Lakeville, Edina and Brooklyn Center and association executive director Paul Kaspszak.

  • 3
    Griff Wigley says:

    Nfld News: Sales, profits up at Northfield’s liquor store

    Sales at Northfield’s municipal liquor store were up for a fourth year in a row, according to a report from the state auditor’s office. The annual audit, which looks at sales and profits in 2010 from all 209 cities with municipal liquor stores, shows that Northfield store’s profits also rose over 2009 and 2008 figures. In 2010, the store had a net profit of 7.6 percent. That’s compared to 6 percent in 2009 and 5.5 percent in 2008.

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