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Editorial: City-run liquor stores benefit Farmington

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.

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.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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