Plans revealed for new ABC store

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WINTON – After nearly 40 years of serving the public, plans are underway to replace the aging ABC Store in Ahoskie.

Clarence Jordan, General Manager of the Hertford County ABC Board, officially made the announcement here Monday morning during a regularly scheduled meeting of the county commissioners.

“Our intention is to build the new store at the current location of the existing store,” said Jordan, referencing the single story facility located on Memorial Drive near Newmarket Shopping Center.

Jordan added that the local ABC Board has formally launched the project by retaining the services of a Rocky Mount architectrical firm at a cost of $18,500. He said the construction costs are estimated at $280,000. All those costs will be covered by the local system’s fund balance, which Jordan – after being asked by Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer of that amount, said was in excess of $450,000.

The new store, according to Jordan, will be approximately 2,000 square feet of floor and service space, an increase of 400 square feet over the current location. Like the current store, the new building will be attached to an existing warehouse that stores alcoholic products for the Ahoskie store as well as the Murfreesboro and Winton ABC facilities.

“The Ahoskie store will have more space and more inventory,” Jordan stressed.

Jordan said he feels the new store, with the added retail space, will boost sales.

“We talked to the manager of the Gates County ABC Board and he told us their new store that was recently constructed in Sunbury saw an increase of 20 percent in sales,” Jordan noted. “I also spoke with an interior designer in Charlotte said whenever he remodels or designs the interior of a new ABC store he has seen sales increase from 22 percent to as high as 40 percent. I feel a new store in Ahoskie will increase our profits.”

While the commissioners did not have to approve the local ABC Board’s plans, Jordan said he and his colleagues wanted to keep the commissioners abreast of what they were doing with this project.

“How will business continue at the Ahoskie store if you’re building a new store at the same location,” asked Commission Chairman Curtis Freeman.

“What we intend to do there is sell out of the warehouse until the new store opens,” Jordan replied. “The architect said he could design an area in the warehouse where we can service the customers with minimum inconvenience.”

In speaking later with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Jordan said the temporary sales location in the warehouse will be across the counter, not the current self-service setup as found in the Ahoskie store.

He added that the ABC Board has not yet set a timetable as far as the construction plans are concerned.

“We would love to start by the end of the summer, but there’s a lot of legwork ahead of us before we turn the first shovel of dirt,” Jordan said. “When we do get started we expect it to be a 10-month construction process.”

Freeman said that while he was happy to see the local ABC Board moving forward with plans to replace the Ahoskie store, he would also like to see what the future holds for the Murfreesboro and Winton locations.

“As we speak the board has a plan in place to improve the aesthetic appeal of the other two stores, starting with the painting of those two stores inside and out,” Jordan stated. “As a matter of fact the painting project for the  Murfreesboro store is being started as we speak.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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