June 18, 2018
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Roopers among highest-selling, fastest-growing liquor stores in Maine

Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal
Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal
Customers line up at Roopers on Sabattus Street in Lewiston on Friday night. The agency liquor store made nearly $1.6 million in sales last year, the fourth-highest in the state.
By Kathryn Skelton, Sun Journal

Portland, Lewiston, Freeport and Orono had the five largest agency liquor stores in the state last year.

The top two, Bow Street Market in Freeport and RSVP in Portland, were also distributors, selling in bulk to restaurants and bars.

For the rest, many sales came from selling one bottle of Allen’s Coffee Brandy and other spirits at a time.

Those details were released this week, along with five years of historic sales for each store, by the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, as part of an ongoing process as the bureau accepts bids for a new state liquor contract.

Maine is one of 17 states that controls hard-liquor sales. Updated sales information was one request to come out of a bidders’ conference last month.

Proposals are due next week from companies that are going after the 10-year, multimillion-dollar contract.

Bow Street Market sold more than 60,000 cases of liquor and took in more than $10.5 million in 2012, according to the state data.

Roopers on Sabattus Street in Lewiston was the fourth-largest agency liquor store in Maine with nearly $1.6 million in sales. The rest of the top 10 were spread throughout the state in Saco, Bar Harbor, Waterville, South Portland and North Waterboro.

“We’ve really grown a lot,” Roopers’ owner Steve Roop said Friday. “We’ve gotten hold of the wholesale market in the Lewiston-Auburn area, which has been a big advantage. It’s a big number, when you get the restaurants and the bars. It helps the bottom line, that’s for sure.”

Roopers was also among the state’s fastest-growing stores. That location saw sales increase 66.5 percent from 2007 to 2012. Roopers on Minot Avenue in Auburn grew 57 percent in that span.

Roop credited hardworking employees, 60 among his five stores, for part of that growth, as well as the support of the community.

Gowell’s Store in Litchfield nearly doubled sales from 2007 to 2012, from $50,873 to $99,456. Village Kitchen and Rapid Redemption in Poland did even better: an increase of 237 percent, from $68,536 to $231,391.

There’s no deadline for the state to award the new liquor contract, but the successful bidder is expected to be operating by July 2014, when the contract with Maine Beverage Co. expires, according to Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations documents.


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