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Editorial: City-run liquor stores benefit Farmington

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opinion Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

There was debate a while back about the value of Farmington’s city government staying in the liquor business. The city’s two stores were struggling to turn a decent profit, and at least a few city council members wanted to close their doors and open the local liquor market to private businesses.

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Things look a little bit different these days. According to the city’s liquor store manager, profits at the stores are up about $88,000 so far this year. The stores have attracted more than 800 new customers.

That’s good news, but the better news is what those profits have allowed the city to do.

Liquor store profits have long been used to support the city’s parks and recreation operations. Amenities like the municipal pool and Schmitz-Maki Arena don’t necessarily make money for the city. Healthy liquor store sales help support them, as well as other projects.

But the benefits of the city-run liquor store go beyond that. At Monday’s city council meeting, liquor store manager Blair Peterson presented a $400 check to the local VFW post. Afterward, he donated $10,000 to the veterans’ memorial currently under construction in Rambling River Park.

There have been other donations, too. And there likely will be more ahead.

That is the benefit of a city-run liquor operation. Private store owners might get involved in their community. They might support projects like the memorial. But we know the city is involved in what happens here. If sales continue to grow, we assume those donations will only get bigger.

Staying in the liquor business makes a lot more sense.

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