Liquor store numbers exceeding expectations

Tracy’s municipal liquor store, Boxcar Liquors, has enjoyed a renaissance in its new location on the highway. Photo / Per Peterson

By Per Peterson

Five years after substantial financial losses threatened to close the City of Tracy’s municipal liquor store on South St., the business — now on Hwy. 14 — is thriving. And despite a substantial unplanned-for expense, Boxcar Liquors had a record-setting year in 2021.

In addressing the Tracy City Council at its recent meeting, liquor store manager Tam Schons said although nearly $13,000 had to be spent on the store’s specialty cooler, the overall numbers tell a story of success.

“We just had a great year,” Schons said. “Like everyone else, we had some staffing issues with all the sickness going around, and different vendors were out of some merchandise, but our customers were understanding about that.”

The City’s municipal bar — with on-sale liquor sales — closed Oct. 1, 2016, because that part of the operation was bleeding money. The off-sale liquor store remained open amid threats of closure the following year. Financial statements at the time showed that part of the business had lost more than $37,000 in 2016 and some $31,000 through the first nine months of 2017, leaving the store in the red to the tune of more than $43,000 that year.

Fast forward to 2021, where the liquor store in its new location wound up far ahead of budget projections. The City set a target of $52,061 in its budget, and the liquor store brought in $83,740. Schons said the move to the highway from downtown clearly continues to pay off.

“You can always tell the new (customers) when they walk in because they look for the beer — they don’t realize the beer cave is at the other end,” Schons said. “They’re like, ‘Well, I’m just passing through,’ and that’s exactly what we want to hear. We love our in-town customers, but the move to the highway has helped boost sales and catch people going through town.”

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