Anonymous asked in Food & DrinkBeer, Wine & Spirits · 10 years ago

Are liquor stores even that profitable?

I live in NYCand it's a bit competitive..but we have a large community of Bolivians/Peruvians where I live and I wanted to start a liquor store, SPECIFICALLY, to cater JUST to them. All of the liquor, drinks, snacks would be imported from Bolivia and Peru...nothing american stuff...nothing.

I'm wondering how much a typical liquor store makes and what the start up costs are like...? I plan on renting a SMALL space...probably less than 700 sq. that will be MORE than enough room to display all the things I need to. Ideas?

PS. I'm a Registered Nurse getting out of the fiance wants to run the liquor store, and I am gaining experience as a Tax Preparer..and I will run my own office.

5 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The first hurdle is to see if the license and permits are realistically possible to get. I don't know about NYC, but most places issue a finite number for a geographic area, and you basically are waiting for somebody to drop dead, or you have a truckload of cash to buy one from a current holder.

    After that it comes down to basic business issues. What is the size of your target audience, how much disposable income do they have, how much is rent and how much would you have to sell to break even every month, what are the tariffs, excises, and restrictions of the stuff you want to import? The answers will give you your yes or no. Are there similar cheaper products that would be regionally produced/distributed inside the US that would be recognized and acceptable to your clientele? Is there already existing (competing) sellers of the products you are interested in selling, such as a grocer that supplies booze to the population under the counter?

    A small local population will be easy to saturate, you will need to spend most of your energy crossing ethnic boundaries to create awareness and demand for your products in the mainstream culture if you plan to survive in the real estate market you mentioned.

    You should also be aware that ethnic populations tend to be very entrepreneurial, and they tend to spend almost all of their income patronizing shops within their ethnic community. You may find it hard breaking into a situation like that.

    If the demand is there and unfulfilled, that is a recipe for success. If legal restrictions would utterly kill it, would you consider going underground? Many ethnic communities get by only because they are willing to create an illicit micro-economy in order to survive. A grocer that sells booze under the table is one example. Selling your product from your apartment or from the trunk of your car is another. A hit and run tamale cart that delivers bottles of cachaca would be a smashing success, I would think. If you get busted, you pay the fine and maybe do a short stint in the pokey, but when you re-open you have much higher credentials with your clientele, they know you are for real and are committed to them.

    So much to think about...

    Good luck.

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  • 10 years ago

    Depends, in some jurisdictions only the government can run liquor stores. Liquor stores are a good business to have because liquor isnt something that will go out of style. If you have a small space, you can do fine as long as you manage the space well and display efficiently.

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  • 10 years ago

    I love everything that's Peruvian. I guess you'll be getting Pisco, Peruvian wine, beers perhaps (Cusqueña, Pilsen)? You'll do good. Maybe have a Peruvian beer or Pisco tasting, once a week for the ones that are not really familiar with it. I honestly, usually spend $100 a week at my local liquor store. I buy Sake, and 1.75L Grey Goose. I don't know how my answer might help, but I just wanted to put it out there.

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  • 10 years ago

    well it would be extremely difficult in NYC due to the rent/lease of the space. otherwise you could markup the product by 100% and make a killing, especially since you are providing a delicacy that your foreign friends will not find elseware locally.

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    Catering to only one group of people is a great way to gain interest and therefore profits, but a great way to lose it too.

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