Issaquah liquor store to close May 29 before changeover

May 24, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2 p.m. May 24, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah is due to close May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement. “This method will ensure that our customers have the ability to buy liquor right up until June 1, when private retailers take over.”

The availability of liquor in Issaquah is poised to expand beyond a single storefront next month, as major retailers prepare to add spirits to store shelves and the state completes the process to privatize liquor sales.

Bartell Drugs, Fred Meyer, Front Street Market, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, QFC, Walgreens and Costco received licenses to sell liquor. (QFC received licenses for the Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Klahanie stores.)

Issaquah-based Costco — the largest employer in the city — led the push to pass a liquor privatization measure, Initiative 1183, in November. Statewide, almost 60 percent of voters supported the liquor-privatization measure.

The state Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the initiative. The high court is expected to rule on the measure before the June 1 changeover deadline.

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