ESTEVAN — The liquor store operated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is entering its final days.
Estevan MLA Lori Carr, who is also the minister responsible for the SLGA, said the store is to shut down Feb. 11. Employees will continue to work at the store until March 3.
“That gives them the opportunity to clean up the store and get inventory ready to ship back to SLGA,” said Carr.
Cleaning the store would include taking down the shelves and making sure everything is ready to transfer over to the building’s new owner. In the case of the Estevan store, which opened in 2005, Carr said they already know the building’s new owners will be the Estevan Market Mall.
“Part of the lease agreement was that when and if the Government of Saskatchewan is no longer running our business out of there, our liquor store, that the building will revert back to the mall. The mall is one that will actually have the option of deciding what happens moving forward.”
The Estevan outlet has 12 employees, with three working full-time and nine part-time, for eight full-time equivalent positions. Carr said there are 258 full-time equivalent staff members in Saskatchewan with the SLGA liquor stores.
Empty shelves are becoming increasingly common at the Estevan location. The only items that have been replenished in the past few months are those that have been deemed as more popular, such as macro-brewery beer, vodka and more. The lower-volume sale items have not been put back on the shelves once they run out.
Come Feb. 11, Carr said they don’t want to have a ton of inventory that has to be moved.
“We have to take into consideration that there might be product that would not be available to clients at our public liquor store during this timeframe, but we do know that there are other vendors within the City of Estevan that will be able to meet that demand. So, nobody should have technically gone without something that they wanted,” said Carr.
There will be a small amount of inventory getting replenished between now and Feb. 11.
Carr said they would not run out of stock of some items.
She pointed out this has been a difficult time for the employees at the SLGA because some of them have been there for a long time.
“Within the workforce adjustment plan … there is a payout that they will get based on years of service and all of that kind of information, but I would assume that depending on their age and where they are in their lives, some of them might retire, and some might decide to go on and get a job in a different industry, find a new opportunity,” said Carr.
Others could opt to work in another liquor store in the city.
There will be an online auction for SLGA’s liquor retail permit in Estevan. It will be conducted by McDougall Auction. According to the province, these will be held in real time at https://mcdougallauction.com/new.
These auctions are for the permits only, with no buildings, fixtures or inventory included in the sale.
Winning bidders must still apply and qualify to hold a retail store permit.
Estevan is in the second of sixth auction groups, which will run from Feb. 7-16.
Carr noted that depending who purchases the permit, it might be in a different location than the present SLGA building. SLGA has received a number of inquiries about how the process will work in Estevan.