New big box liquor store in Yorkton has small business owners worried

A new, big box liquor store has opened up in Yorkton, Sask. and has some smaller business owners worried about keeping up. 

The Real Canadian Liquor Store, inside the Superstore on Broadway Street, got going just after the moratorium on selling liquor licenses lifted.

According to a release, the store will carry "300 types of spirits, 500 varieties of wine, and 300 beer and cider options."

Ray Sharp owned and operated an off sale for twelve years and recently opened a liquor store.

"We're going to probably see a drop in business off the bat here for sure," he said. 

"That's what always happens when new businesses open, people are going to go check it out."

Sharp said he received offers from buying groups on his license last year but was already in the process of building the liquor store, so he didn't pursue that any further. 

'A monumental shift'

Jim Bence, President and CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association, said lifting the moratorium is a big deal for the industry in the province. 

"This is going to be a monumental shift in the landscape," he said.  

"Any time that you've got big box stores that can move into a community of whatever kind of size, there's only so many customers to go around."

CNW Group/Loblaw Companies Limited

Bence said that the bigger stores have way more bargaining power, so their prices are often lower than another local liquor store. Plus, this new store is located inside the grocery store, which adds a convenience factor. 

As for Sharp, he said he hopes the more personalized service he can offer will help bolster his business.

"I think it's going to be survival of the fittest out here," Sharp said. 

"[We have to] try to keep ahead of the game and hopefully we can survive in the end."

With files from Jennifer Quesnel