By Mike Pearson, News staff
LCBO officials were raising a glass last Wednesday to mark a newly expanded Stoney Creek location.
About 30 customers were waiting patiently outside on March 19 for a 9:30 a.m. grand opening. At 11,600 square feet, the retail outlet at 122 Hwy. 8 is two-and-half times the size of the former store, which was located in a plaza just a few steps east of the current site.
Bob Peter, LCBO president and chief executive officer, said the new store features a cold room which is cooled by outside air for eight months of the year. Other highlights are a wide selection of Ontario wines, a Vintages Corner and a wider selection of imported beers.
The new store is still about 5,000 square feet smaller than an Ancaster Meadowlands megastore, but Peter noted the shelves can be expanded from three to four levels to boost product offerings.
“We’re excited about this store and we hope everybody enjoys shopping,” said Peter.
Overall, Peter said the LCBO generated $1.7 billion in revenue for the province last year. The Stoney Creek location will be the last new LCBO store to open this year.
Despite its location directly across the street from The Beer Store, LCBO Hamilton district manager Barb Chappel said the new store isn’t making a direct move to grab market share from Brewers Retail, its private sector competitor.
“I just think we’re trying to serve our customers and give our customers what they want,” said Chappel.
The new LCBO location features almost 8,000 square feet of display space, with an expanded selection of over 1,770 wines, spirits, beers, ready-to-drink cocktails, coolers and beverage gift packs.
Staffing is expected to expand from 12 to up to 16 full-time and part-time employees, including a product consultant.
An LCBO store has stood near the current site since Sept. 1, 1989.
Last year, with contributions from its customers, the LCBO raised $6.6 million province-wide for charitable causes, including the United Way, MADD Canada and four children’s regional hospitals, including McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation. Last year, LCBO staff and customers helped raise more than $350,524 for MAC Kids, up 36 per cent from 2012.
The new LCBO store is one of many recent improvements at the Fiesta Mall site over the past two years, along with a new 2,450-square-foot Tim Hortons, a soon-to-be completed Fortino’s, Pharma Plus, Little Caesar’s Pizza and a Winners store.