Eleven more state liquor stores closing Tuesday

Closures to compensate for employee resignations, as staff leave to take on new jobs

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Eleven state-run liquor stores across the state will close for good Tuesday in a second round of store closures as Washington prepares to hand over hard liquor sales on June 1 to private retail businesses.

The closures, which do not include any Clark County locations, are to compensate for employee resignations as staff leave to take on new jobs, reported the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Remaining store employees will be transferred to fill employment gaps at other state-run stores, which will shut down at the end of May in accordance with Initiative 1183. Voters passed the measure in November. Since then, the state has been filling store vacancies with temporary workers as state liquor store workers are quitting in droves.

The state has already closed 14 stores, including the former store in Vancouver's Safeway-anchored Four Seasons Place commercial center at 2612 N.E. 114th Ave.

Initiative 1183 directed the liquor control board to auction off the state store properties at present locations. The results of that online auction, which included seven Vancouver stores, were announced in April. The liquor control board announced Wednesday that because 18 of those state stores were not claimed by the top bidders in the online auction, it will hold a live auction for those stores May 24 in Seattle. Visit www.liq.wa.gov for more details.

It is still unclear what will happen to Clark County’s seven contract stores, which are now operated by contractors who sell liquor through the state.