Mercer Island liquor store closes Thursday, store sold at auction for $200,000

The Mercer Island state-run liquor store closed last Thursday. Other state-run stores will be open through May. - Megan Managan/Staff Photo
The Mercer Island state-run liquor store closed last Thursday. Other state-run stores will be open through May.
— image credit: Megan Managan/Staff Photo

The Mercer Island liquor store will close on Thursday, April 26, coincidentally just days after the Washington State Liquor Control Board finished the auction of state run stores last Friday.

The Mercer Island location was sold for $200,100.99 during the auction.

The state-run store was closed earlier than most, as the WSLCB shut down 14 stores to compensate for store employees leaving for new jobs. WSLCB has been filling vacancies at stores with temporary works since December of last year, after the Initiative 1183 passed. The closure was not related to the completion of the auction.

“These stores were strategically chosen to minimize any disruption to our service areas,” said WSLCB Retail Director Chris Liu. “We knew as we got closer to the transition deadline we would have to address employee shortages.”

After Initiative 1183 passed last November, the WSLCB was directed to auction state store properties, and successful bidders earned the right to apply for a liquor license at the location they won. Winning bidders will have to secure a lease from the property's landlord, and if unable to do so, can re-sell their right to sell, or request an alternative location within a one-mile location of the existing location.

The state earned $30.75 million in the sales of the liquor licenses for 167 state run stores.

The Mercer Island location was purchased by Shawn Cooprider, who owns Urban Spirits. The company is based out of Seattle, where Cooprider lives.

Loan Gordon, the vice-president of marketing for Urban Spirits, said they know they won the bid, but beyond that plans have not yet been finalized.

"We have plans, but at this time we're not able to share them until things are straightened out," said Gordon. "We have a message to Kidder Matthews who operates the building for the landlord, to talk about the building and a potential lease. We are very excited."

Gordon said they could begin selling alcohol on June 1, but that requires a variety of things to fall into place with the state, as well as hiring, building inventory and working out lease terms.

There were 551 registered bidders during the month long auction, with a total of 14,627 bids. Of the 167 stores, 93 went to individuals and 28 stores were purchased by people who won multiple bids. A store in Tacoma earned the highest bid, going for $750,100, while the lowest bid for was a store in Spokane at $49,600.

Mercer Island resident Lee Ingrim also took part in the auction, winning the bid for the store in Centralia. His winning bid was for $120,600.

After the closure of the Mercer Island store, the closest available state run store is in Factoria at 3630 Factoria Blvd. S.E. The downtown Bellevue location will also remain open – located at 1100 Bellevue Way N.E.


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