County To Close OC Liquor Store, Move Two Blocks

County To Close OC Liquor Store, Move Two Blocks
County To Close OC Liquor Store, Move Two Blocks

OCEAN CITY — Continuing to alter their retail and wholesale operations, the Worcester County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) confirmed Monday it will be closing one of its Ocean City locations and opening a larger store two blocks away.
“We just need a bigger store. We want something a little more modern, newer, and a little more attractive,” said Bobby Cowger, director of the DLC. “That’s the main thing. As you know, we’ve gone out and we’re doing a lot to upgrade and make our stores nicer and more presentable.”
The DLC’s 18th Street retail store will close Nov. 30 and relocate to 16th Street sometime in late-February or early-March. Besides wanting to modernize all locations, Cowger explained that the DLC is in the process of adding wine to stores along with traditional spirits. The current 18th Street mart does not have the room for wine and also already sits next to a beer and wine store.
“We’re putting wines in our stores and this store is going to have a wine selection in it … Wine is really getting to be a big business out here,” Cowger said, “and we’re missing part of that market and it ties in with our business.”
Along with the added retail space, the move to 16th Street will open up a new wholesale location for the DLC. It will allow bars access to their alcohol orders from an Ocean City location. Currently, all businesses have to travel to the DLC’s flagship store off Route 50 in Berlin for wholesale buys doing non-regular delivery days. The new spot will meet longstanding licensee wishes, according to Cowger.
“That’s pretty much what they’ve been asking for here for years: a centrally located, convenient pickup location right in Ocean City,” he said. “And we’re going to have that right there, too.”
Outside of Ocean City, Cowger reported that the DLC is satisfied with their flagship store, which was built last winter and replaced two other locations, one in Berlin and the other in West Ocean City.
“The customers seem to be really happy, they seem to be satisfied. It’s a really attractive store,” said Cowger. “We’ve got great selection and big volumes in there. Our pricing is getting a lot more competitive with Delaware now because of our buy-ins and what we’re doing. The overall retail operations are doing well. We’re real pleased.”
The flagship store is doing about the same business of the former two stores together, he added, but costing the DLC less as they are only paying expenses for one location.