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Government selects operators of liquor stores

A Kamsack entrepreneur, a Preeceville liquor store employee and a Co-op store in Canora have been selected to operate the liquor stores in those three communities.

            A Kamsack entrepreneur, a Preeceville liquor store employee and a Co-op store in Canora have been selected to operate the liquor stores in those three communities.

            Successful proponents were selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the province’s 50 available retail liquor store opportunities, said a release from the provincial government dated November 23.

            At Kamsack, Robert Ritchie of Ritchie Industries Ltd., which operates the Kamsack Petro Canada retail gas station, was selected, while at Preeceville, Garth Harris, a liquor store employee, was the successful applicant and at Canora, the Gateway Co-operative was selected as the new vendor for liquor. The Canora Co-op is one of 14 Saskatchewan Co-ops that were selected.

            “The successful proponents range from independent businesses and entrepreneurs to larger established chains as well as six locations that will be owned and operated by affected government liquor store employees,” said Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. “Overall, we received more proposals than originally anticipated so we’re very happy with the response.”

The retail store permits (RSPs) are part of the transition to an expanded private retail system in the province, the release said. The 50 RSPs include 39 SLGA liquor stores that are being converted to private opportunities and 11 new retail store permits.

KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory
services, was engaged to provide oversight and determine whether the established processes related to this RFP were followed, it said. The opening dates for these new retailers will vary, depending on factors like whether new buildings are being constructed or if renovations to existing buildings are required. The RFP process began in July 2016.

According to the terms of the RFPs, locations in Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Melville, Lloydminster, Moose Jaw and Kindersley must be opened within 18 months and all other communities within 12 months of the announcement date.

SLGA stores that are being converted to private retailers will continue to operate until the new locations are open for business, it said.

“This process to select successful proponents has been a major undertaking,” Harrison said.  “There’s a lot of anticipation and eagerness from both applicants as well as the communities where these businesses will operate.”

The successful proponents must still complete the regulatory part of the application process in order to receive their RSP and begin operating.

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