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Minnesota State Auditor's Office reports financial progress of local municipal liquor stores

According to the Minnesota State Auditor's Office report, municipal liquor stores saw record-high sales but a drop in profits.

Posted: Nov. 14, 2017 9:12 AM
Updated: Nov. 14, 2017 9:14 AM

KASSON, Minn. – Each year, the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office report how city-owned liquor stores are doing with their sales and profits. According to the report, 228 municipal stores saw record-high sales. However, profits were down by more than 8-percent from 2015 to 2016.

Cathy Pletta manages the Kasson Liquor Store and said city-owned liquor stores are just like any other retailer stores. When there’s more competition, there’s going to be a decrease in profits.

She said city-owned liquor stores have to compete with bigger liquor store chains in bigger cities, mom and pop shops, and online sales. Pletta said Kasson’s biggest competitors are liquor stores in Rochester.

That’s why Pletta said she’s had to be proactive and make changes when necessary.

“I've changed hours. I've changed scheduling. I’ve changed my product selection. I've changed just the look of the store to try to keep it updated so people enjoy coming in and shopping in a tidy, clean store,” Pletta said.

She said she’s still even making changes in regards to the recent law change over the summer of Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota.

One challenge Pletta said she faces is marketing the fact that the store benefits the city and community as a whole, whether you do or don’t drink alcohol. That’s because each revenue dollar goes back into the community. Pletta said the Kasson store has funded playground equipment, welcome signs, the library, police and fire departments.

Pletta said the store she manages is the biggest liquor store in Dodge County, and the most profitable municipal liquor store in southern Minnesota.

“We're a growing community, we're a thriving community,” Pletta said. “We have good schools. We have a good park system and we have loyal customers here so I'm very fortunate.”

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