ChocMo owner purchases liquor store

ChocMo’s owner Peter Crabtree has purchased the liquor store next door.  He will call it High Spirits and will add beer and wine.  - Kipp Robertson / Herald
ChocMo’s owner Peter Crabtree has purchased the liquor store next door. He will call it High Spirits and will add beer and wine.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

POULSBO — Peter Crabtree’s newest business venture has him up against large grocery chains. But when the owner of ChocMo opens what he wants to name High Spirits June 1, his plans are to offer more than his competition.

The focus, he said, is to offer specialty liquors and craft beer and wine.

It’s been something Crabtree has considered since hearing liquor stores in Washington would be put up for auction.

Crabtree is one of 121 individuals who purchased state-run liquor stores through auction. The online bidding ended April 20. A total of $30.75 million was spent on purchasing 167 liquor stores.

Successful bidders earned the exclusive right to apply for a liquor license at the current location within its current footprint. All state store properties are below the 10,000-square-foot threshold established by Initiative 1183. Successful bidders will need to secure a lease with the property landlord. If they are unable to secure a lease, they may sell their right or request an alternative location within a one-mile radius of the existing location.

The Poulsbo liquor store, 4,000 square feet on 7th Avenue, was purchased for $67,400 by Bret Gagliardi, the property owner who leases the land occupied by the liquor store and ChocMo — a high-end chocolate and wine store.

Gagliardi said he will transfer the ownership of the liquor store to Crabtree.

“This was a natural extension of the success that we have had in retail beer and wine sales and ChocMo, thanks to our wonderful customers,” Crabtree said.

In order to compete with stores such as Albertsons and Rite Aid, which are down the street, Crabtree will offer more choices. Crabtree expects the grocery chains to offer the “40 biggest” items, that is to say, top sellers.

At High Spirits, Crabtree said there will be “more than 1,000 different items … A whole lot wider selection.” Special orders will be available, he said.

Initially, High Spirits will be left as it is. Crabtree plans to add beer and wine. Other items, such as mixers, will be available as well.

High Spirits, a separate entity from ChocMo, will soon have a website and Facebook page, Crabtree said.



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