Hwy. 14 site proposed for liquor store

The former Food-N-Fuel gas station and convenience store appears to be the destination for Tracy’s new liquor store.

By Seth Schmidt

The Tracy Municipal Liquor store has been tapped for a new Hwy. 14 location.

Monday night, the city council passed a motion to purchase the former Food-N-Fuel property for $33,000, with the intent of remodeling the facility into an off-sale city liquor store.  The acquisition is contingent upon the outcome of a Feb. 11 public hearing, and final council ratification.  

City Administrator Kris Ambuehl told the council that he believes the former convenience store can be remodeled into suitable space for no more than $75,000, for a total cost of $108,000.

“That’s a lot less than what a new building would cost,” Ambuehl said.  New construction, he said, would be  $250,000 to $300,000.

The acquisition would result in the relocation of the city liquor store on South Street. To pay for the acquisition and  remodeling, Ambuehl recommended that $65,635 now budgeted for maintaining and upgrading the current liquor store building, as well as  $42,365 in city reserves, be utilized.

Ambuehl told the council that the move should pay for itself through increased profitability and less future maintenance expenses.

He outlined benefits of the proposed liquor store remodeling and relocation

• The cooler in the former Food-N-Fuel is large enough to meet Tracy liquor store needs, and appears to be in good condition.  The seller is willing to guarantee the cooler’s operation.

• Hwy. 14 visibility will increase store traffic.  Ambuehl said that the Minnesota Municipal Beverages Association projects that a Hwy. 14 location would sales by 30%.  Even if the increase is only half that, Ambuehl that a 15% sales increase would be very beneficial.

•  Spending budgeted maintenance funds on a newer building in a prime location, makes more sense than investing in an older building in a less desirable location.

See this week’s Headlight-Herald, for more on this article.